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Rask gets into Notre Dame spirit with Winter Classic mask

Jeremy Roenick prepares for the 2019 NHL Winter Classic on January 1 at 1 p.m. by getting into character and learning Irish stepdance.

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

It’s the special events that Tuukka Rask will accept change when it comes to the design of his goalie mask. So when the Boston Bruins netminder starts Tuesday’s Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium against the Chicago Blackhawks, he’ll do so honoring the Fighting Irish.

Thanks to the work of Bruins assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer (designer) and Jesse Acciacca (painter) of Jesse’s Custom Design in Wilmington, Mass., Rask’s mask will include many of features associated with Notre Dame and its football program. There’s the Fighting Irish mascot, who is wearing a Bruins Winter Classic jersey and hat; the “Golden Dome” administration building; and, of course, the PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY sign on the back plate.

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While Rask and Blackhawks starter Cam Ward will have special masks for the Winter Classic, David Pastrnak and Patrick Kane will be using special Bauer sticks. Among the highlights on each stick are the skylines of both Boston, Prague and Chicago, personal logos using their initials, and quotes. Kane’s features “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of sheep,” while Pastrnak’s simply says “YOLO.”

And because his nickname is “Pasta,” the Bruins forward had to incorporate a pasta emoji for the special occasion:


Mike Tirico will host the network’s Winter Classic pre-game coverage alongside the NHL Live studio team of host Kathryn Tappen, and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick. Six-time Emmy Award-winner and La Fontaine, Ind., native Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk, and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from Notre Dame Stadium.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.