Foxboro Becomes Hockey Town USA

For a precious few days, Patriot Place in Foxboro, Massachusetts, is getting repurposed as puck lovers' paradise.

The Patriots Pro Shop, which usually sells jerseys of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, is filled with NHL Winter Classic hockey gear.

Gillette Stadium is hosting the 2016 edition of the New Year's Day tilt, this time between the Boston Bruins and arch-rival Montreal Canadiens.

Fans visiting Wednesday weren't put off by steep prices, like $240 for a neo-throwback jersey.

"It's a gift – it's Christmas," said Tricia Chambers, visiting from Rye, New Hampshire.

"The game jerseys, even if they're a lot of money, I like them," said Cam Mooney, who plays in two youth hockey leagues in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Beyond jerseys, shirts and dozens of kinds of hats, the Patriots Pro Shop has also been stocked up with Winter Classic sticks and pucks and even Zamboni Lego kits ($30 for a 73-piece model) and plenty of Montreal gear to please Habs fans like Montreal-born New Hampshire native Rob Somogyi. He was shopping for Canadiens' gear two days before he’ll attend the game with his son and nephew.

"Working in the Boston area," Somogyi said, being a Canadiens fan "has a lot more meaning, because I get picked on by a lot of my coworkers and friends and all that."

Also transformed for this week is the Renaissance Hotel at Patriot Place. It's sold out putting up NHL staff and stadium ice-making crews and has been bedecked in Winter Classic signage, all the way to the front desk clerks' uniforms and the hotel bar beer taps.

Does all this hoopla for just one day of regular-season hockey really sense? To Scotty Ferreira of Fall River, who was shopping for Bruins gear with his 6-month-old son, Nolan, and family, it does.

"It's a one-of-a-kind thing," Ferreira said. "I mean, you might never get a chance to ever see this again."

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