In a typical off-season, all the buzz around Fenway Park is about baseball, and the only ice on the field is what falls out of the sky.
But this year is a little different, as a 200-member crew works feverishly to build a hockey rink on Fenway’s historic field for the NHL’s Winter Classic game on New Year’s Day — a major coup for the city and the chance of a lifetime for the public to skate outside with the Green Monster as the backdrop.
Getting fans interested in the game itself was clearly the easy part — more than 307,000 people registered online for tickets earlier this year. Building the rink itself has been the challenge, but it’s one Dan Craig, the NHL’s facilities operations manager, has relished. Craig has masterminded the task at hand — which involved installing the boards, setting the ice and preserving America’s oldest ballpark.
“We’re pumped,” said Craig, who is overseeing the rink’s construction and maintenance. “The more this thing is created the more of an atmosphere is created on the field.”