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Countdown to the 2016 Winter Classic begins

by NHL Public Relations / NHL.com

NEW YORK – With just one month until the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the countdown to the much-anticipated rivalry game between the Boston Bruins® and Montreal Canadiens® on New Year's Day at Gillette Stadium has begun. The event will be broadcast live nationally on NBC in the U.S. and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada at 1 p.m. ET.

Two of the NHL's storied franchises, the Bruins and Canadiens have faced off against each other more than any other two teams in NHL history. When these long-time rivals meet on Jan. 1, Boston will become the first Club to host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for a second time, after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime of the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park. It will mark the first time the Canadiens will play in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and just the second time a Canadian-based NHL team will participate in the event, following the Toronto Maple Leafs' appearance in 2014.

Events and activities leading up to the annual hockey celebration include:

The Rink Build at Gillette Stadium

The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Ice Plant presented by York – the custom-built 53-foot, 300-ton capacity truck that houses the world's largest mobile rink refrigeration unit and will be used to make the ice sheet for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® - will depart from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Dec. 15 and arrive at Gillette Stadium on Monday, Dec. 21st. After the installation of field protection, 243 ice pans and a ring of dasherboards to enclose the rink, workers will create a nearly two-inch think ice surface at Gillette Stadium. Fans will be able to follow the entire rink-build process through interactive features and extensive coverage on NHL.com and NHL Network™.

EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic™

Returning this season, this original series has become an essential part of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® experience for NHL players and fans alike. The weekly series, consisting of four one-hour episodes, provides an all-access look inside the lives of the Bruins and Canadiens, their families and their fans and will make its U.S. television premiere Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, 9 p.m. CT. Produced by Emmy® award winner Ross Greenburg, narrated by Bill Camp (Black Mass, 12 Years a Slave) and presented in partnership with NHL Original Productions, EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic™ also will be streamed live as it premieres on EPIX via EPIX.com and NHL.com.

NHL Legacy Event

The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Legacy Initiative powered by Constellation will unveil a renovated street hockey rink in Charlestown, Mass. Thanks to the Bruins, the City of Boston, and NHL partners Constellation and Bridgestone, among others, the Bryan McGonagle Street Hockey Rink at Ryan Playground will receive a complete makeover. An official unveiling will take place Dec. 17.

Team Practices at Gillette Stadium

The Bruins and Canadiens will take to the ice for the first time at Gillette Stadium for team practices on Dec. 31. NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide full coverage of the team skates throughout the day.

NHL Winter Classic® Alumni Game

More than 40 former Bruins and Canadiens players and coaches are scheduled to participate in the renewal of this legendary rivalry in the unique Gillette Stadium outdoor setting. Those scheduled to return for the Bruins include Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Terry O'Reilly and more; Don Cherry and Mike Milbury will serve as Boston's coaches. Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur lead the Canadiens alumni with a roster that includes Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Jose Theodore and Mats Naslund, among many other notable names. The game begins Thursday, Dec. 31, at 3:30 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.

Spectator Plaza at the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®

With support from NHL partners, Spectator Plaza is a free fan festival featuring interactive hockey-themed attractions, live music, prizes and giveaways, food and beverages, and retail locations with an extensive selection of officially-licensed 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® merchandise and collectibles for fans of all ages. Spectator Plaza will be held at Lot 22 of Gillette Stadium from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 31 and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 1. Additional information on Spectator Plaza and its many attractions will follow in the coming days.

Fan Reminders

The bag policy for the NHL Winter Classic® Alumni Game and 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will be the same policy Gillette Stadium uses for New England Patriots games. Only clear bags measuring 12" x 12" x 6" or less, women's clutch bags not to exceed 7" x 4" x 2" (approximately the size of a hand), and clear plastic bags carrying only purchases made at the stadium ProShop and/or Spectator Plaza locations are allowed in the stadium.

All guests, regardless of age, require a ticket to enter the stadium. Guests may not exit and re-enter Gillette Stadium using the same ticket.

Official fan hospitality and travel packages for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and all NHL signature events are available from PrimeSport, the Official Fan Travel and Hospitality Package Partner of the NHL®. For more information please visit www.primesport.com/nhl.

NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide extensive coverage live from the event leading up to and after the game. NHL Social™ will have exclusive coverage on all social platforms, including the use of the hashtag #WinterClassic. Additionally, the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will be available live via NBC Sports Live Extra and Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™.

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