The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic brings hockey back to its outdoor roots. It's a spectacle that has become a New Year's Day fixture. But the NHL Winter Classic's impact always goes well beyond the game itself, and the 2016 showdown between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., is no exception.
"When the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic comes to town, the focus is rightfully on the spectacle and splendor of hockey returning to its origins outdoors," NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brian Jennings said. "But the positive impact of the NHL coming to town is often felt in the community before, during and long after the game on the ice has been played."
And while the majority of the focus was rightly on the 5-1 victory engineered by the Montreal Canadiens in a battle for first place in the Atlantic Division, the impacts on the community will be felt far beyond the magical Friday afternoon at the home of the New England Patriots.
The city of Charleston, Mass., received the NHL Winter Classic legacy project, the renovation of the Bryan McGonagle Street Hockey Rink. The Boston Bruins, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the NHL, alongside League partners Constellation, Bridgestone, Ecore, Exelon, Franklin Sports, and Musco, unveiled the renovated street hockey rink on Dec. 17. The renovation is part of the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Legacy Initiative powered by Constellation.
Twenty students who have gone through the Future Goals-Hockey Scholar course toured the Gillette Stadium facility and the ice truck and had a chance to ask Senior Director of NHL Hockey Operations Dan Craig questions related to their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum.
Future Goals is a free online program that NHL and NHL Players Association make available to schools to supplement their STEM programs. The Future Goals Program uses hockey as a learning vehicle; the program helps students understand the real-world applications of science and math principles
In another program, Bruins legend Ray Bourque appeared for a Q&A session hosted by NHL Network's Jamison Coyle and NESN analyst Andy Brickley.
Afterward, in response to a letter from the mother of a young hockey player, Bourque and former Bruin Bob Sweeney, now the Executive Director of the Bruins Foundation, surprised local squirt youth hockey player, Matt Cacciapaglia (from nearby Franklin, Mass.) and his entire team with tickets to the Winter Classic. The NHL, Dick's and the Bruins Foundation also made a $5,000 donation to the Franklin Youth Hockey Association. Dick's also provided a shopping spree for the entire team.
As part of NHL's relationship with RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality), RISE had its activation set up in the warming area. Fans were able to take the pledge, take a picture of themselves with the RISE/NHL backdrop and share it on Social Media.
Also, TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) partnered with MillerCoors for the Responsibility Has Its Rewards (RHIR) Campaign inside Gillette and at the Spectator Plaza.
Fans were able to add their names to the Responsibility Puck, pledging to never drive drunk and always have a designated driver. Those making the pledge received a souvenir photo and were entered to win an NHL prize pack.
In addition, The NHL, which ranks as the 20th-largest user of green power in the U.S., was honored with the 2015 Green Power Leadership Award.
All greenhouse gas emissions from the 2015-16 season, including the Winter Classic -- from electricity to waste to team travel -- will be counterbalanced with renewable energy and carbon offsets. Constellation, an NHL partner, is working with the League to analyze and recommend strategies to improve energy efficiency in hockey arenas.