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NHL Winter Classic

Bruins, Blackhawks, Notre Dame legends get Winter Classic started

South Bend Symphony Orchestra, flyover part of pregame ceremonies

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Senior Director of Editorial

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Pomp and circumstance was the order of the day when the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks kicked off the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday.

The game began in near-perfect conditions, with a temperature of 35.5 degrees Fahrenheit under overcast skies.

Notre Dame football legend Tim Brown performed the ceremonial puck drop between Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

Many of the pregame ceremonies mirrored those used when the Blackhawks play at United Center, which meant Jim Cornelison sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." Only this time he was accompanied by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, and when he finished, four A-10 Thunderbolt II jets flew over the iconic stadium.

Video: Sights and sounds ahead of the 2019 Winter Classic

The orchestra played the Notre Dame fight song as the players marched side by side down the tunnel into the stadium. The Bruins and Blackhawks were led by a pair of current Notre Dame hockey players, goaltender Nick Sanford and defenseman Spencer Stastney.

Hall of Fame players Cam Neely, Johnny Bucyk and Ray Bourque represented the Bruins, while Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull and Denis Savard represented the Blackhawks, along with Jill Mikita, the wife of Chicago legend Stan Mikita, who died on Aug. 7.

The Bruins and Blackhawks stepped onto the Notre Dame Stadium ice for the first time about 45 minutes before the start of the game. The outdoor practice sessions on Monday were moved indoors because of the heavy rain that pelted the area throughout the day.

Raghib "Rocket" Ismael and Autrey Densen were among the Notre Football legends on hand.

The Jacks, a blues rock band from California, played an extended set throughout warmups and youth skaters played 4-on-4 hockey on the auxiliary rink.

Each team arrived at the stadium before 10:30 a.m., marching in through the Knute Rockne gate. The Blackhawks were marched into the stadium by a pipe and drum band, the same way the Fighting Irish football team enters for each home game. The Bruins arrived a few minutes later, the player decked out in suits that paid homage to "Peaky Blinders," the British crime drama set in the 1920s.

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