The teams and the league haven't officially said that the game is the 2012 Winter Classic, but several reports have confirmed as much, and besides, how many games are there at 1 p.m. on a weekday? Not to mention the fact that HBO has also confirmed that the two teams will be featured in their mid-season 24/7: Road To The Winter Classic documentary in December.
The Winter Classic will be held in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park on January 2. We know this, although we don't know what the hell the NHL is waiting for in announcing it officially. As if we needed more confirmation, here's this from Penn State University's club ice hockey team on Wednesday:
Two days after the Flyers and Rangers take part in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizen's Bank Park, the Penn State Icers will get their chance at playing on the same, grand stage.
The Icers will face NCAA Division 3 Neumann University on Wednesday, January 4th at 7 PM.
So, there's that. Penn State hockey isn't a Division 1 program, but they will be in 2013 when a new arena is built on their State College campus and a program is started, thanks to an $88 million donation from new Buffalo Sabres owner and PSU alum Terry Pegula. That, along with the pending realignment of college hockey in the wake of Penn State's D1 addition, has put the school on the hockey map in recent months.
Neumann University won the NCAA Division 3 National Championship in 2009. They're located in Aston, Penn., just a few minutes outside of Philadelphia.
This whole including-college-teams-in-the-Winter-Classic thing has become a staple at the outdoor game in recent years. In 2010, when the Flyers took on the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, Boston College and Boston University played a game on the ice prior to the big showcase on January 1.
In 2011, when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals played at Heinz Field, Robert Morris University played Rochester Institute of Technology inside at the Pens' normal home, CONSOL Energy Center, as a preview event to the Winter Classic.