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Winter Classic

It’s a mashup of Boston owners of Pittsburgh team vs. Boston team with New York owners at Fenway Park

Hockey players take a crack at baseball - with a Wiffle Ball - as Charlie Coyle gets in a swing before the Bruins' practice at Fenway Park.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Let’s see if we’ve got this right.

The owners (Fenway Sports Group) of the visiting team (the Pittsburgh Penguins) are based in a city (Boston) where they own the baseball team and stadium (Red Sox and Fenway Park) where an ice hockey game (the NHL’s Winter Classic) will be played Monday against a home team (the Bruins) owned by a New Yorker (Jeremy Jacobs) that’s not playing at home (TD Garden).

Someone at NHL scheduling headquarters majored in sports irony.

“I grew up a diehard Bruins fan, of course I’m rooting for the Bruins — just don’t tell my colleagues at the Penguins,” said Sam Kennedy, the Brookline-raised partner at FSG who’s also the CEO and president of the baseball team that plays at Fenway Park during normal business hours. “It’s ironic the NHL chose the Bruins and the Penguins for this game [with] Fenway Sports Group’s ownership. It was the NHL’s idea, and they approached the Bruins first, and they were excited about it.”

The Bruins were fine with it, really.


“You know, it’s a little unusual, but the majority of the fans at Fenway are going to be Bruins fans, so it should feel like a home atmosphere for us,” said Cam Neely, president of the Bruins.

Especially with one FSG partner who was a Neely, Ray Bourque, and Craig Janney fan in his youth cheering under his breath from a suite.

“Sam’s always been a big hockey fan and particularly a Bruins fan,” said Neely. “So I’m sure he’s going to be a little torn.”

The catalyst for hockey’s colliding tectonic plates was FSG’s purchase of the Penguins one year ago for an estimated $900 million. Despite putting up its most valuable subsidiary, Liverpool Football Club, for full or partial sale last month, the sports conglomerate (principally owned by John Henry, who owns the Globe) considers itself to be in growth mode.


Future forays into the NBA and other North American sports and entertainment ventures are still on FSG’s to-do list.

The Penguins acquisition marked a tangible result.

As a franchise, the Bruins are the more valuable franchise by a considerable stretch.

Valued by Forbes at $1.4 billion, the Bruins are the fifth most valuable team in the league, their value up 8 percent from a year ago.

The Penguins are middle-of-the-pack, in 15th place, at $990, a 12-month growth rate of 10 percent.

Not bad.

That is why the mostly Boston-based partners of FSG welcome the arrival of their Pittsburgh-based subsidiary into their Boston-based baseball’s team home.

Just ask Kennedy, if he were wearing his FSG hat.

“I will be rooting for a great game.”

Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com.