By Seth Daniel
The City of Boston and the National Hockey League (NHL) are combining forces to renovate the Brian McGonagle Street Hockey Rink at Ryan Field this fall – and will hold a blockbuster ceremony in December to mark the occasion and prepare for the NHL’s WinterFest game to roll into Fenway Park on Jan. 1, 2016.
A spokesman for the Parks Department told the Patriot Bridge that they have begun renovating the Rink at a cost of $240,000 in partnership with the NHL as a legacy project connected to this year’s WinterFest outdoor game.
Each year, one city is picked by the NHL to host an outdoor, throwback game on New Year’s Day that is broadcast on national television. Cities such as Buffalo, Detroit and others have been chosen in the past.
“We are renovating the street hockey rink there in partnership with the NHL,” said Ryan Woods of the Parks Department. “They are having the WinterFest game at Fenway Park this year on New Year’s Day and in every city where they hold the game, they like to leave behind a legacy project. This will be that project…This is going to be our blueprint for how we want to do our street hockey rinks all over the city. This is our pie-in-the-sky, in a perfect world situation that we would like to duplicate all over the city. A normal rink renovation would come in at $100,000 and this one is getting $240,000.”
Woods said the rink will get a top to bottom renovation with new, arena-quality fiberglass boards/glass and an electronic scoreboard and other amenities as well.
It will also retain the Brian McGonagle name, which has come with great pleasure to the McGonagle family in Charlestown.
To cap it off, during the week of Dec. 14-18, Mayor Martin Walsh, long-time NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and players from the Boston Bruins will be on hand to open the Ritzy renovations.
The partnership has seen the NHL kick in $150,000 to the Charlestown project, and the City kick in $90,000 for construction and $30,000 for design.
Initial work has already commenced on the renovations, and the work is said to be top-flight in every aspect.
“Once again, this is a blueprint type of project that Charlestown is getting,” said Woods.