A sea of black and gold flooded the streets around Fenway Park early Monday, as Bostonians and hockey enthusiasts turned out in full force for the 2023 Winter Classic.
“Let’s go Bruins!” a packed crowd roared around Lansdowne Street as the game drew closer, tossing around the chant.
This year is only the second time the Winter Classic has been held at Fenway, and the Boston crowd wasn’t holding back.
By 1 p.m., the mix of Bruins and Penguins fans were overwhelming blocks around the park, accompanied by a wafting scent of hot dogs and sausages and blasting music from country star Sam Hunt’s pre-game concert.
“This is fully nuts,” said a young woman shopping nearby, before shaking her head and turning to navigate around the crowd.
For couples, families and friends throughout the crowd the anticipation was laced with nostalgia.
Matt and Nicole Divirglio were at the first Winter Classic at Fenway together — a 2010 game in which the Bruins narrowly defeated the Flyers 2 to 1 in overtime.
Now over a decade later with two 10-year-old hockey enthusiast kids in tow, the pair said, coming to Bruins games is part of North Shore family’s bedrock.
The kids Layton and Melania Divirglio, both “big hockey players,” have seen lots of Bruins games at TD Garden, their father said, but this Winter Classic is their first chance to see their team play at Fenway.
Standing in line at Gate E, Layton buzzed about left winger Brad Marchand, while Melania brought up defenseman Charlie McAvoy with an excited smile.
“We’re continuing a tradition,” Matt Divirglio said as the four inched another step closer to the game.
The rowdy crowd built up fervor as the game drew closer — some jovially passing small “nip” bottles of alcohol to strangers and others wiping out the merch stands. Tickets sold on the street day-of could go for up to thousands of dollars, one salesman said.
Even Boston’s dogs were in the spirit.
“Tommy’s a big fan,” Bruins-fan Marta Wang said, as the happy dog in question was wrangled into his black and gold jersey.
Wang said she came to her first Bruins game five years ago with her partner Doug when she first moved to the city and immediately took to the sport.
“Yeah, hockey’s awesome,” Wang said.
Heading to the stadium Monday, the trio seemed pretty certain of a victory.
“Looking forward to beating those (expletive)s from Pittsburg,” Doug said, laughing as Marta shook her head at his language.