The Winter Classic started in 2008 being played outdoors and bringing hockey back to its roots. The outdoor venue in the middle of winter has an odd effect on fans, causing them to get even more excited then normal when it comes to hockey. As every sports fan knows, the fans in Philadelphia have a reputation for being over the top and harsh at times. An outdoor hockey game, in winter, will bring the most out of a great fan base and a ruckus crowd should be expected.
This is not the Flyers first time in the classic. They played in the 2010 Winter Classic, hosted by the Boston Bruins. The Flyers were unable to come away with a victory, but the game lived up to its billing as a classic and the Bruins came away with a 2-1 overtime victory. The Flyers are the only away team to lose the Winter Classic so far; out of 4 games the away teams have won 3. In 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in New York , the Sabres lost the Penguins 2-1 in a game that was decided in a shootout. In 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago the Red Wings defeated the host Blackhawks in a barn burner 6-4 game. Last season at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , the Penguins lost to the Capitals 3-1.
There will be a few firsts for this Winter Classic.
- The first time that hockey fans will be able to get a cheese steak at an outdoor NHL game.
- The first time the Liberty Bell at the stadium will ring to signal a goal instead of a homerun.
- The first time the Philadelphia fans will be able to throw snowballs at an opposing hockey team.
- The NHL will have to make sure that the lights from the 7,000 square foot video screen at Citizens Bank Park don't melt the ice.
- The first time that the Flyers will play at home in front of a championship flag that is not from the 1970's.