SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Winter Classic is going back to college – and it’s bringing along two familiar foes.

Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins.

Hockey at the home of Knute Rockne, Paul Hornung and, of course, Rudy.

The 11th edition of the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day showcase features its fourth matchup of Original Six franchises – two teams with plenty of experience when it comes to playing outside, and prominent connections to each other and host Notre Dame.

While many hockey fans are sick of the same group of teams playing in the NHL’s outdoor series – especially the Blackhawks, who are winless in three previous appearances in the Winter Classic – it sounds as if it never gets old for Kane, Bergeron and company.

“Very special. It’s always fun,” said Bergeron, who split his first two appearances in the Winter Classic, winning at Fenway Park in 2010 and losing at Gillette Stadium three years ago. “You know obviously the history behind this stadium is huge and goes way back.

“You try to soak everything in, but at the same time we know what happened last time. You have a job to do and we have to make sure that we’re ready for that.”

Just three days after Notre Dame lost in the College Football Playoff, the longtime home of the Fighting Irish hosts the NHL’s sixth regular-season game in Indiana. It becomes the second college to host the Winter Classic, joining the University of Michigan in 2014.

The 30-year-old Kane said Notre Dame is popular in the Irish section of Buffalo where he grew up. He said he wasn’t a fan of the school when he was a kid, but he understands the significance of his surroundings.

“Yeah, I mean Notre Dame,” Kane said, “it’s so much history. … You watch that movie ‘Rudy’ growing up all the time. Some unbelievable scenes in that. So pretty amazing that you’re just going to be playing hockey out there and you’re going to actually be performing out there.”

The Bruins will be without forward David Backes, amid a three-game suspension. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy also has been ruled out with a lower-body injury, but forward Brad Marchand is set to return after missing Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win at Buffalo with an upper-body injury.

Coach Bruce Cassidy will go with Tuukka Rask in goal.