NHL linesmen Chris Rooney and Brian Murphy both grew up cheering for the Red Sox, and on New Year?s Day, Rooney of Boston and Murphy of Dover, N.H., will get to skate on the ice at Fenway Park in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.
They will be joined by longtime referees Kerry Fraser (Sarnia, Ontario) and Lyle Seitz (Brooks, Alberta). According to NHL senior VP and director of officiating Terry Gregson, all of the officials were chosen for specific reasons.
?This year is obviously special, and with it being in Boston, we chose carefully," Gregson told NESN.com. "We thought with Chris being from Boston and Brian Murphy being from the New England area, it would be nice for them to be able to participate in something like this and bring some family members.
?Kerry Fraser and Lyle Seitz are both retiring, and this is something that they?d like to do as they are winding their careers down," Gregson continued. "They both mentioned before that they?d like to do an outdoor game and there aren?t too many, so we assigned them to this. Lyle also spent a lot of time in Springfield, Mass., on his way up the ranks in his career, and he wanted to bring his family back this way, so it will be nice for him and the family to take part in this.?
Gregson believes the foursome is ready for the hype that the Winter Classic could bring. He is also confident that Dan Craig and his crew will provide the best ice possible. There is, however, no controlling Mother Nature, and Gregson has urged precaution and proper preparation for his crew.
?Just like the players, you have to deal with what?s given to you, and there?s obviously the possibility of a lot more variables than we?re used to in a normal game,? Gregson said. ?But you adapt. I'm sure players complain about bad ice sometimes, but I think the ice will be good and the equipment they have is the best. So unless it rains, we should be OK. I remember in Edmonton, it was, like, minus-25, and a couple of the guys got frostbite. You have to protect yourself.?
As for dealing with the atmosphere and hype of the event, Gregson is confident that this crew — which has worked numerous playoff games and Stanley Cup finals – will be just fine.
?The trick is to remember that this is a game for two points and it counts, so I sent them some stuff on mental toughness, and I?m sure they have enough already,? Gregson said. ?So you work with what Mother Nature gives you, and they will be the professionals that they are.?
NESN.com's James Murphy will answer one Winter Classic question every day leading up to the event.
Monday, Dec. 21: What does Bobby Orr think about the Bruins playing in Fenway Park?
Wednesday, Dec. 22: What was the NHL?s marketing strategy for the Winter Classic, and how did the plan come together?