… on Jan. 2. at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Here is the story from my friend Chuck Gormley at the Camden Courier-Post:
By CHUCK GORMLEY
Are you ready to sing “Take me out to the hockey game?”
The 2012 NHL Winter Classic is coming to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and is expected to match the Flyers against the New York Rangers, the Courier-Post learned late Thursday night.
The game is expected to be played on Monday, Jan. 2 and highlight a week of hockey activity that will include high school and college hockey games on the infield of the Phillies’ seven-year-old ballpark.
An announcement confirming Philadelphia as the site of next season’s Winter Classic is still weeks away but Flyers president Peter Luukko has been working with the NHL for years to land the midseason classic and said he believes it would be the perfect climax to New Year”s Day weekend.
“If we are chosen to host the NHL Winter Classic, with our fans and the excitement of New Year’s Eve, the atmosphere would be fabulous,” Luukko said. “It would be good for the city and good for the region if we”re lucky enough to host.”
The NHL was hoping to have the Flyers face the Rangers at 68,532-seat Lincoln Financial Field on Jan. 1, but the Eagles are hosting the Washington Redskins at 1 p.m. that day in their regular season finale.
According to an NHL source, Phillies president David Montgomery has given the league permission to construct a hockey rink on the infield of Citizens Bank Park, which seats 43,500 fans.
The Rangers are the only Original Six team from the NHL that has not participated in a Winter Classic, which has been a resounding success for the NHL since its inception in 2008.
The Rangers have lobbied to host a Winter Classic at Yankee Stadium, but college football’s annual Pinstripe Bowl is scheduled to be played there on each of the next four New Year’s Days.
It has not yet been determined whether the 2012 Winter Classic will take place during the afternoon or at night, but for the second straight year it will be accompanied by HBO”s 24/7, a weekly television special that takes cameras into the locker rooms, hotel rooms and private lives of the teams” players and coaches.
That would be a treat for NHL fans hoping to get a closer look at the boisterous and often profane coach of the Rangers, John Tortorella.
During the season, the Courier-Post asked Flyers coach Peter Laviolette his opinions on being involved in a second Winter Classic.
“Whatever is asked, I’d be up for, because it was a great event,” he said. “There was nothing that was bad about it, and if the talk of one was to come here and certain things have to be done, sign me up.”
Truth be told Laviolette would rather not be followed around by cameras, but would be willing to sacrifice some privacy for the excitement of hosting a Winter Classic.
“I would rather avoid a camera than jump in front of one,” Laviolette said. “But I can tell you this—man, I love that Winter Classic, and I sure would love to play in another one. For me that trumps all “ even my own queasiness.”
In the inaugural Classic, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres on a shootout goal by Sidney Crosby in snowy Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. A record crowd of 71,217 fans witnessed that game.
The 2009 Winter Classic featured the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks in Wrigley Field and drew the highest American television rating for an NHL game in 33 years.
The Flyers and Boston Bruins participated in the third Winter Classic in 2010 in Fenway Park, with the Bruins winning 2-1 in overtime. Last year, heavy rains postponed the Winter Classic until 8 p.m. and the showdown between Sidney Crosby and the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals was the most-watched Classic.