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Report: 2012 Winter Classic set for Philadelphia between Flyers and Rangers

May 13, 2011, 11:52 AM EDT

Citizens Bank Park Getty Images

While we’re all focused on the Stanley Cup playoffs, rumblings about what’s going to happen next season are already firing up.

As always, the marquee midseason event is the Winter Classic and after the huge success that it’s been the last four years in Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, and Pittsburgh teams and cities are always hopeful of landing the annual event.

CSN Philly is reporting that the 2012 Winter Classic will be headed to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and will feature the Philadelphia Flyers taking on the New York Rangers on January 2. The January 2 date is, of course, deviating from the usual January 1 date for the Winter Classic and there’s a good reason why next year’s game will have a different date.

As reported last month, because the Eagles and Redskins are playing on Jan. 1 at Lincoln Financial Field (assuming an NFL season and end of the lockout), the league was considering moving the game back a day because, sources said, the NHL did not want to go head to head with the NFL on New Year’s Day. Citizens Bank Park was the only option if the game were to be held in Philadelphia.

Avoiding a potential NFL weekend is a wise idea for the NHL and while some might criticize the league for getting off of the traditional New Year’s Day date, the event is meant to be a TV sensation to showcase the game. Going up against the NFL wouldn’t get the game the kind of showcase they’d be looking for.

Of course, there’s the possibility that the NFL will be locked out as well. It’s not believed that the date of the game would have the date shifted if the NFL is out of commission for the year.

For the Flyers, it would mark their second appearance in the Winter Classic after appearing in the 2010 Winter Classic in Boston against the Bruins. For the Rangers it would be their first appearance in the New Year’s Day event and while New York would love to host the event, there’s not a facility that appeals to everyone to host it in New York City. Should Yankee Stadium ever become available in the future that would be the optimal venue. For now, the Pinstripe Bowl takes up all the time in the Bronx needed to get the stadium ready for the Winter Classic.

No announcement has been made so this is just speculation for now, but if you’re thinking about where you might want to spend New Year’s for hockey purposes, it might be time to start looking into Philadelphia.

  1. spiffy53 - May 13, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    what’s the over/under for goalie changes for that day?

    • ready4jets - May 13, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      I think philly finally figures it out and gets Schneider, nabokov, or one of the Washington goalies. That is if they can’t find someone better.

  2. sportsinhd - May 13, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    “The Winter Classic*” has been in the wrong broadcast window since its inception. I’ve never understood the reasoning of challenging football, either college or pro. A much better fit would have been on the off weekend between the NFL’s Championship Week and the Super Bowl. That’s pretty much a sports wasteland, and the Winter Classic would have fit in nicely there, with absolutely no competition.

    The Winter Classic also needs to be turned into some sort of showcase for the defending Stanley Cup Champions. I realize that you can’t hold a “Winter Classic” in San Jose or Tampa Bay (if it comes to that this year), but there needs to be a way to get the “Champs” involved. Not just from a marketing perspective, but as a reward for a great season.

    The NHL doesn’t have a big “Kickoff Weekend/Week” like MLB’s Opening Day or the NFL, there’s just too much sports competition going on in October. The average fan probably starts paying attention to hockey in January, when the NFL season winds down. A moved Winter Classic would be a great kickoff to that part of the calendar year, and a great reintroduction to the game for the casual fan. I know that those of you who read this blog watch all season long, but that’s probably the exception and not the rule.

    *Not really a “classic” since the word “classic” implies some level of tradition.

    • lonespeed - May 13, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Man, you’re so over thinking it. How does the Winter Classic challenge football? New Year’s Day Bowl games are meaningless now. All the BCS Bowl games happen after January 1st, and the Championship does not occur until a week later. The only game of meaning is the Rose Bowl and that is usually played in the early evening. On year’s when the Rose Bowl is host to the National Championship game, it isn’t even played on January 1.

      Other than football, there is absolutely nothing going on New Year’s Day. It’s the perfect day to host the game. The Winter Classic is already a showcase.

      • sportsinhd - May 13, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        You obviously aren’t a big college football fan. There are several significant bowl games on New Year’s Day, all at 1:00 Eastern.

        Let’s see in 2010*, the Winter Classic drew a 2.6 rating, at the same time the Capitol One Bowl pulled in a 6.8. You tell me what’s meaningless? The Gator Bowl, played also at 1:00 Eastern drew a 4.3 rating. So college football is pulling an 11 while the NHL is pulling in a 2.6. That’s competition.

        As an avid sports fan in general, I know that I’m forced to flip between bowl games and hockey, with college football often winning. For all the hoopla over the Winter Classic it’s still just a regular season game, one of 82.

        *I used 2010 numbers because of the oddness of last year’s Primetime game.

  3. lonespeed - May 13, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    I think it is unlikely they will play the game on the diamond. Much more likely to play at Lincoln Financial.

    The Philadelphia fans don’t deserve such a game, but it makes sense to host it in Philly.

    • spiffy53 - May 13, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      the linc is booked by the birds. so yes, citizens bank park is correct.

      how do the philly fans not deserve the game? one of the best, if not the best attendance records for the entire NHL since they came into the league.

      • trigdaddy - May 13, 2011 at 4:02 PM

        not to mention the always sold out eagles and phillies games. sixers get their due as well. Philly is a perfect place. By January they wont have to worry whether it’s cold or not..

  4. nhlbruins90 - May 13, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    New Years Day is best. If the NFL game is in the day, play the Classic at night. If the NFL plays at night, Classic in the day.

    The NHL says that teams should ‘think out of the box’ when pitching for the Classic. Well, here’s an out of the box proposal. Play the Classic on the Mall in DC.

    Yes, yes … the NHL would forfeit a huge amount of money in gate receipts, but it may be worth it. This could be publicity that no amount of money could buy.

    A free event could be turned into a Woodstock for NHL fans. Hundreds of thousands could attend the game on the Mall. Sure, only a small number of folks would actually have a good view of the ice directly, but the Mall could be divided up into team pavilions, each with huge video screens and vendors. Being there is all that matters.

    A Capital to Capital Classic could feature the Senators vs. the Capitals. How many Canadian folks would decide to spend the holiday in Washington? The number would be large, very large. The Canadian Embassy would be decked out like never before. For the NHL sponsors (the folks who really matter), there are lots of high-end venues that can be created. What sponsor wouldn’t want to be invited to a fancy shindig at the Canadian Embassy? Maybe Putin could be convinced to attend and do some promotion for the next Winter Olympics in Russia. NBC (if they’re carrying the next Winter Olympics) could certainly get on board for that. And if that were to happen, maybe a certain resident on Pennsylvania Ave. would finally attend a game. Yeah, that might get some publicity.

    I know I’d book my Amtrak tickets in a heartbeat.

  5. gallaghedj311 - May 14, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    Say what u want about the 700 level at the vet, but flyers fans are among the bestin hockey. With what happened at dodgers stadium and the stabbing at a capitals game a few years back in DC, I think it’s fair to say Philly isn’t any worse than any other city. There are over passionate drunken idiot fans in most major metropolitan cities.

  6. zone44blitz - May 14, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    Why not renew an old rivalry between Rangers and Devils in the New Meadowlands or Citi Field since the Yanks host the New Era Bowl or whatever it is? They shouldn’t repeat teams until all relevant teams have played.

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