SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Grantland Rice’s column on the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame signified a truly astonishing time for sports writing in the 1920’s. Rice’s lede lives on in sports journalism lore.
“Outlined by a blue-gray October sky, wholesale boston bruins jersey
the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame rode again,” Rice wrote following that faithful Notre Dame-Army contest at the old Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan.
Substitute October with January over 90 years later for the 2019 NHL Winter Classic and you have a similar blue-gray sky hovering over Notre Dame Stadium where the Four Horsemen once called. The league’s marquee outdoor event took center stage featuring the Bruins and Blackhawks on the legendary South Bend campus.
Notre Dame’s marquee backfield of quarterback Harry Studhler, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller, and fullback Elmer Layden dominated the Knute Rockne era in the Roaring Twenties. All have their rightful spots in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta — formerly located in South Bend.
The Bruins had three marquee names on the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame Stadium some decades later. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak may very well have their names enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame one day in Toronto. At the very least, their Winter Classic performance against the Blackhawks on New Year’s Day marked another tape for the old highlight reel.
“They were good again tonight, they had to be,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said about Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak. “If we’re going to win, our best players have to be our best players and the followers [have to] follow. Give credit to [Sean] Kuraly for doing that. He’s been big for us, too. But to get back to your question, that line — I think they play better against good players, and they had that matchup tonight [against the Blackhawks’ top line] and they were good.”