The spectacle that is the winter classic has quickly become endeared to followers of the NHL. Many were upset about the NHL's failure at "spreading the wealth" in the league's featured regular season game. The cross state rival Penguins took part in 2 out of the first 4 New Years Day extravaganzas. For those Flyers faithful who were upset with the Penguins being featured in two winter classics, myself included, it's time to eat those words.
According to Wayne Fish via twitter, @WayneFish1,
"A National Hockey League source confirms Thursday night that the Flyers will host the 2012 Winter Classic game on Jan. 2 vs. NY Rangers." ~Wayne Fish
Instead of playing the game on New Years day like in the past, the game will be moved to the 2nd.
"The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The game, normally played on New Year's Day, was moved because Eagles play Redskins Jan. 1." ~Wayne Fish
This is a scheduled contest that is up in the air. I say "up in the air" because the NFL's season is still very much in limbo. I would venture to say that if the work stoppage continues and the NFL season is cancelled the Winter Classic would be moved to the first day of 2012.
Obviously, I'm ecstatic at the prospects of attending a Winter Classic game in our backyard, but I still feel as though the NHL has dropped the ball yet again. I understand that the big draw teams (ie Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago) pay the bills, but I also think this game is a good way to grow the brand of the smaller market teams (ie Columbus, Nashville, Florida, and Tampa). The NHL is a business and continues to show that.
The Western Conference has only played host to one Winter Classic, Chicago vs. Detroit, in 2009. I thought a Minnesota vs. Dallas WC made perfect sense. Plenty of history, and very rabid, passionate fans in Minnesota. Newly constructed Target field (left) would have been a prime location for the Winter Classic.
Not only is the NHL not "showing the love" to a number of other teams. They are also moving the date to the 2nd. The Winter Classic has been a staple of my New Years day routine and any two teams that battled would be on in my household. Yes, even a Florida vs Tampa water polo match. But, such is life in big business.
So, Flyers fans, I guess we will have to settle in on January 2nd and watch our boys battle the hated Broadway blue shirts. Wait, January 2nd is a Monday? Good thing it's a new year and vacation time is reset. See you at the Bank!
Nothing is official until confirmed by the NHL, which probably won't be until after the season.