When the Boston Bruins hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in Fenway Park in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic, Red Sox owner John Henry was on the minds of some fans in attendance.
Henry, who owns the Red Sox and the Penguins via Fenway Sports Group, has drawn the ire of Boston fans lately. Following a last-place finish in the AL East this past season, the Red Sox failed to re-sign players like Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez, and slugging infielder Rafael Devers remained unsigned as of Monday afternoon.
As Bruins fans flowed into Fenway Park, they made their displeasure with Henry known. When Henry arrived at the park for the game, fans were there shouting, "Pay Raffy!"
My #WinterClassic message to John Henry @Jared_Carrabis pic.twitter.com/jFJfxfHVrr— Sean Stetson (@SMS4988) January 2, 2023
Another fan, Mike Mullen, tried to enter Fenway Park with a sign that said, "Pay Devers Please." However, Mullen claims it was taken by the stadium staff as he tried to enter through Gate E.
Fenway Security wouldn’t let me bring this sign in… pic.twitter.com/JGgOzzRy8B— Mike (@misplaced_local) January 2, 2023
"We were entering through Gate E," Mullen told the Boston Herald. "I didn't really get an explanation as to why. The security guard said 'I agree man' to the sign, then called over another person to look at it and he said no. So they kept my sign. I read the 'fan code of conduct' and felt my sign didn't violate any of the guidelines there."
A Red Sox spokesperson told the Boston Herald that the security officials at Gate E "made a subjective judgement call because this was an NHL event. Had they run it by management, it would have been allowed and we are stressing that with the team that was on site."
The Bruins wound up defeating the Penguins, 2-1, but the Red Sox did agree to a one-year contract with Devers just a day later.