Flyers to host Winter Classic

It’s official: The Flyers will host the Winter Classic against the New York Rangers at 1 p.m. Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the event today, which he called the worst-kept secret in sports, at a news conference at the Phillies’ ballpark. The Daily News reported back in April that the Flyers and Citizens Bank Park would host this game.

An outline of the rink was set up. The rink runs from right above first base across the infield to third base. Center-ice looks to be at about second base.

"This is the fifth time I've had the pleasure of making one of these announcments," Bettman said. "There will be a hockey rink on this field. There will be two very excited teams playing in front of a sellout crowd."

“So let me make it official in what is the worst-kept secrets in sports,” Bettman said in announcing the game.

“The Rangers-Flyers rivalry rival is one of our very best. It’s only a relative short distance between Broadway and Broad Street.

“Last year’s game was the most watched regular-season game since 1975. This has become one of the most anticipated events on the sports calendar.

“It is the ultimate in reality TV.”

Bettman also confirmed that the NHL and HBO are teaming up for another “24/7” series. “Philadelphia will be the center of the hockey universe,” he said.

Phillies president David Montgomery said: “We’re honored as an organization to host the 2012 Winter Classic. We’re honored to join Wrigley Field and Fenway Park as the baseball venues to host this event.

“We’re going to be honored to watch. Apparently I’m going to be in charge of weather [Bettman said Monty had promised snow].”

“The Phillies and Flyers have a wonderful relationship going all the way back,” Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider said. “We hope, hope we’re playing this game after another World Series win.”

The Flyers and Rangers alumni will play at 1 p.m. on New Year's Eve at Citizens Bank Park.

The American Hockey League's Adirondack Phantoms, formerly of Philadelphia now based in Glens Falls, N.Y., will be part of a week-long celebration of hockey when they play the Hershey Bears at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 6.

 "This is an extremely exciting day for the Phantoms organization and Phantoms fans everywhere," Phantoms president Rob Brooks said. "A hockey celebration and atmosphere unlike anything the AHL has ever seen will happen at Citizens Bank Park. We are extremely grateful to [Comcast-Spectacor president] Peter Luukko for helping make this truly great event a reality."


For photos from today's press conference at Citizens Bank Park, click here.

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