PITTSBURGH PA - DECEMBER 31: A detail of a puck during practice for the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals on December 31 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Are you ready to watch some outdoor hockey in Philadelphia? According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the NHL has decided to host the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia, presumably at Citizens Bank Park.
While the NHL would prefer to have the game take place in a football stadium, the Eagles are scheduled to play a game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1st. This is assuming there will be an NFL season, but in planning a Winter Classic, the NHL surely has to assume that. As a result, Citizens Bank Park becomes the favorite
The Flyers likely opponents would be the New York Rangers, which should not come as a surprise. The NHL loves putting two rivals against each other in the Winter Classic, and the Rangers-Flyers rivalry is one with a long history. It doesn't hurt that both New York and Philadelphia are large TV markets either.
This will obviously upset more than a few people, as the Flyers will be the second team to play in multiple Winter Classics, despite the annual event only celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. After all the fuss over Pittsburgh hosting the event last year, there will surely be more about Philadelphia hosting the event this year. Hopefully HBO does another 24/7 behind-the-scenes look this year.
Frankly, even if you agree that there should be a more varied participation in the event - like I do - the NHL puts this event on to make money. And they want to do it some place cold, while staying in the United States. That limits the host cities to a handful of teams located in the Northeast. With Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, and Pittsburgh already hosting one, the number of cities who fit that criteria is dwindling.
It isn't confirmed yet - though Wayne Fish cites a source in the NHL who has confirmed it - but the NHL releases its schedule in June. We'll know soon enough.