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Winter Classic 2010: "It's Like The Super Bowl"

SB Nation's Travis Hughes of Broad Street Hockey is in Boston covering the Winter Classic and getting a feel for the atmosphere for the event from the fan's perspective. As the two past games each New Year's Day, this season's matchup between Boston and Philadelphia is shaping up to be a classic affair that fans will remember for years to come.

While the game isn't until tomorrow, fans braved the cold and the snow to take part in NHL sponsored fun outside Fenway Park. One Boston fan, when talking to Travis, likened the game to the Super Bowl:

"It's like the Super Bowl," said Mark, who's last name I did not get. "It's a once in a lifetime sort of thing that might not happen for another 20 years." I asked him about how it felt to have so many Flyers fans invading his city for what is, at its core, still a Bruins home game. "It's equal, he said, adding that there are tickets distributed to fans from each team.

Travis noted that the NHL has gone to tremendous lengths to turn what is in reality just a regular season game worth two points into a spectacle that the league is hoping appeals to more than just the hardcore hockey fans.

From a hype standpoint the NHL has really gone to every length to make the Winter Classic their premier event, much like the Super Bowl is to the NFL. Practice was broadcast live (with commentary!) in a four-plus hour special today on NHL Network. How often does that happen? There are probably six or seven stores around the ballpark that display the Winter Classic logo and exclusively sell merchandise for the game. There are banners and flags all over town and everywhere you look you see signs of the game, be it on the subway, in Chinatown, on TV, or anywhere really.

The league is going to every length to set the tone for the game and truly turn Fenway Park into a spectacle. From the snow covered field (when it was forecasted there wouldn't be real snow, at least) to the addition of the Bruins retired numbers next to those of the Red Sox to the changing of the AL East standings on the Green Monster to those of the Northeast Division, the attention to detail is fantastic.

For comprehensive coverage of the 2010 Winter Classic from the Flyers and the fan's perspective, you can also follow Travis on Twitter.