According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Boston Bruins organization is expected to be awarded the 2016 Winter Classic with an announcement coming in the new year. A total of four outdoor games is expected for the 2015-16 season.
If the Bruins do, in fact, host the Winter Classic, I'd get ready for more Boston College outdoor hockey next season. The Eagles have skated outdoors on three separate occasions: in 2010 (Frozen Fenway 1.0 vs. Boston University), 2012 (Frozen Fenway 2.0 vs. Northeastern) and 2014 (Frozen Fenway 3.0 vs. Notre Dame). If the pattern holds, BC will participate in Frozen Fenway 4.0, Electric Boogaloo vs....I don't know...Connecticut?
Of course, the report doesn't specifically mention Fenway Park, so we can all hold out hope that the B's will move the event elsewhere (Gillette Stadium anyone?).
I won't rehash the debate here. You can read BCI's stance on these Frozen Fenway events here. But if the B's are to host the Winter Classic again next season and Hockey East wants to get involved, here are a few suggestions to make outdoor college hockey suck less:
1) Move on from Fenway Park. The Frozen Fenway event is stale at this point anyway and the sight lines remain terrible. Having attended both a Frozen Fenway and the Camp Randall Hockey Classic up in Madison a few years back, I'm happy to report that outdoor hockey in a football stadium >>>>> baseball stadium. Hopefully the Bruins are eyeing Gillette this time and will pass on Fenway.
2) Stop mortgaging Boston College home games for the greater "outdoor hockey good." It seems that one/both of BC and BU have to be involved in these events if they are going to be successful. If BC is involved, this will presumably be yet another lost BC home game, just like the last three Frozen Fenway events, and once again it will be one of the better home games in the season package, and one of the only home games that really fires up the crowd at Conte.
3) No Hockey East games. There are so few HEA league games these days anyway (down to 22 from 27 pre-Notre Dame and UConn expansion) that each game carries far greater weight on the final league standings and seeding for the new look, every-club-gets-a-participation-ribbon Hockey East Tournament. With teams only facing one another twice a year now, it doesn't seem fair to outsource one of two games to be played outdoors where you have to deal with the possibility of poor ice, bad lighting and wintry conditions.
4) More BC-BU? See above. There's at least one less BC-BU regular season hockey game every season now with Hockey East paring the league schedule down to 22 games which, in my mind, is bad for college hockey. I say give the fans what they want. New Hampshire and Maine will close out the first half of the season with two non-league, neutral site home-and-homes in Manchester and Portland. Why can't college hockey's fiercest rivals hook up once or twice a year in non-league games?
5) No...No outdoor Beanpot. No outdoor Hockey East Tournament. No Beanpot in Belfast. No outdoor Beanpot in Belfast. Just, no.