Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, will have a different role in January when it hosts the NHL’s Winter Classic game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as other events.
The Winter Classic is slated for Monday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m. ET.
“The Rangers-Flyers rivalry is one of our very best,” said Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner. “It is only a short distance from Broadway to Broad Street, and over the years, these not-so-neighborly teams have provided an assortment of memorable games. I have every expectation that the 2012 NHL Winter Classic will provide more great moments to remember.”
This will be the fifth Winter Classic, but only the third at a ballpark. Last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field on New Year’s Day 2011, the Boston Bruins hosted the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day 2009 and the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year’s Day 2008. There were two additional regular-season outdoor NHL games played in Canada when the Calgary Flames hosted the Montreal Canadiens during the Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium in 2011 and the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium in 2003.
Among those other events at Citizens Bank Park: a January 6 match between the AHL’s Hershey Bears and Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers’ top farm team.
This will be the third outdoor game in AHL history, and the first at a ballpark. The Syracuse Crunch hosted the Binghamton Senators on Feb. 20, 2010, at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse in front of 21,508 fans, setting a single-game AHL attendance record. Last season, 21,673 fans saw the Connecticut Whale host the Providence Bruins at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 19, 2011. (The Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies will also be playing outside this season, with a game at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., on Jan. 21, 2012.)
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