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Winter Classic rink impresses New England Patriots

NHL.com @NHL

The New England Patriots on Wednesday got to see what their home field looks like ready for a hockey game.

"It's really cool there's an ice rink right in the middle of our stadium," defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. "It's pretty neat."

Gillette Stadium will host the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Friday, when the Boston Bruins play the Montreal Canadiens (1 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN).

The Patriots were preparing at their adjacent practice center for their regular-season finale to be played Sunday at the Miami Dolphins. That warm-weather appointment will keep the Patriots from attending the New Year's Day hockey game.

"It's really cool; I just went out there, see how everybody's skating out there," kicker Stephen Gostkowski said. "It looks like a cool setup; wish we could go to the game. They get to play in front of a ton of fans, I'm sure it's cool for them, and to see hockey played outside is pretty cool."

Gostkowski, a Louisiana native, was drafted by the Patriots in 2006.

"Living up here, met a lot of guys on the team, became a pretty diehard Bruins fan, and I've been supporting them ever since I've been here," he said. "I know a couple of the guys, see them around, play golf with a few of them. It's very exciting to go watch their games. I got to go to both their [Stanley Cup Finals].

"There's a big Bruins following around here. A lot of guys like the team, and to me it's the best game you can see live, so I love going to watch them play."

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