Winter Classicis an annual event in the National Hockey League (NHL) done on New Year’s Day. The regular season games during this event are played outdoors. The site of Winter Classic depends on the areas assigned by host NHL teams. The first Winter Classic event happened on January 1, 2008 at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in New York. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1. There were over 70,000 people in attendance during that event. For next year’s version, it will be held at the Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Those with Winter Classic tickets already, most especially the Philadelphians, have been excited for this event.
The 2012 version would be played between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers on January 2. The choice to pit the two teams was based on its long standing rivalry since the 1974-1975 season. Flyers and Rangers are both under the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. According to Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, the two teams have provided an assortment of memorable games in the past years. These two teams have faced in 261 games and have met in a playoff series 10 times. NY Rangers and the Flyers last met in a playoff game in 1997.
One of the most memorable games between the two teams happened on the last day of the 2009-2010 regular season when they played the historic “winner takes all” game to determine which team advances in the playoffs for the last remaining playoff berth. The Flyers prevailed after an overtime shootout.
In the current season of the NHL, the Flyers have a record of 12 wins, six losses and three overtime losses. The Rangers, on the other hand, have a 10-5-3 record overall.
Before the Winter Classic matchup, Philadelphia and NY Rangers would face on November 26 and on December 23 in Madison Square Garden in New York. After the January 2 game, their next faceoff would be on February 2 (in NY), and February 11 and April 3 (in Philadelphia).
Leading the Flyers for the Winter Classic are Hart Trophy winners Chris Pronger and Jaromir Jagr. The two are part of the core of the 2010 team that won the Eastern Conference title which includes Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. For the Rangers, it will be bannered by all stars Henrik Lundgvist, Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal and Brad Richards, a Conn Smythe awardee in 2004.
The Citizens Bank Park is the home field of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Major League Baseball. It can seat up to 43,500 spectators.
Last year’s Winter Classic was held in Heinz Field, Pittsburgh. The Washington Capitals won 3-1 over the Penguins.
Those fans that won’t be able to buy Winter Classic tickets can watch this mid-season classic on NBC. Local radios would also broadcast this event. It will be heard via WIP-AM/FM in Philadelphia and WEPN in New York City. Sirius XM Radio would also have a satellite broadcast.
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