At a press conference at Citizens Bank Park in downtown Philadelphia, Gary Bettman and the NHL announced the fifth Bridgestone Winter Classic will be held on January 2, 2012 between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers and Flyers have a deep history that extends back to 1974 when they were first put as division rivals. 308 meetings later, the two teams have been chosen to compete outdoors. They have two indoor meetings between now and January 2 including a contest on December 23, just ten days prior to their meeting at Citizens Bank Park. That game is going to be very intense and will set the tone for this year’s Winter Classic. The stadium has a maximum capacity of 43,500 people and the game will feature a handful of star players including Chris Pronger, Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr, and Ilya Bryzgalov from the Flyers and Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal, and Henrik Lundqvist from the Rangers.
The NHL’s Commissioner, Gary Bettman, spoke at the press conference. He said, “Clearly this has become one of the most anticipated sports events on the annual calendar” and later “we’ve faced a variety of challenges, and that is one of the elements that adds to the legend of this event. In many ways the lead up to the game itself is the ultimate in reality TV. ” Glen Sather, the Ranger’s President, confidently said, “We are going to come to Philadelphia and we are going to win.”
The league also announced the Rangers versus the Flyers Alumni game will be held on December 31 and the Adirondack Phantoms and Hershey Bears of the AHL will be playing outside on January 6. There is also talks of bringing high school and college hockey outdoors too. Between January 2-6, the rink will be available to the public for open skating.
The NHL also announced HBO would be back filming another segment of 24/7. Last year’s debut season showcased behind the scenes of the Penguins and Capitals leading up to their Winter Classic matchup at Heinz Field. The show received great numbers and was recently awarded 2 Emmy Awards. Will we get to see the feisty side of Ranger’s coach John Tortorella or behind the scenes of the Flyer’s highly talked about Dry Island? The first episode airs on December 14 and will run for four weeks to January 4.
More to Come..
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