By Matt Leon

ASTON, Pa.  (CBS) — There is a lot of excitement for the upcoming “Winter Classic” between the Flyers and the Rangers on January 2nd in South Philadelphia (see related stories).   But that is just one of several outdoor games scheduled for that week on the temporary rink in Citizens Bank Park.

Some of the other highlights are the Flyers alumni game and the matchup for the AHL’s Phantoms.  But there will also be college hockey on the docket, as Neumann University takes on Penn State on January 4th.

This is an intriguing matchup, with Neumann a Division III power and Penn State in the midst of making the transition up from the ACHA to Division I.

Neumann head coach Dominick Dawes talks about his program getting this chance to skate under the stars.

“Big picture, it’s huge,” he tells KYW Newsradio.   “I don’t even think the hockey has anything to do with it.  I think it’s bigger just for our university to get more exposure in this region, in this area.  To get the Neumann name out there, to expand our student body, to expand our population, I think is the biggest thing.  From the hockey side of it, yeah, I think there will be some special things, some special coverage , some special things written about it.  But I think it will have a bigger impact on our university than it will our hockey program.”

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Coach Dominick Dawes in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Right-click to download Dominick Dawes podcast

For some Knights players like senior forward Bill Foster, the chance to play outside will be a return to simpler times.

“I’m from upstate (Stephentown) New York , so we had quite a few ponds and stuff, and going out there with my friends as a kid is definitely something I did on a pretty regular basis,” he recalls.

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Bill Foster in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Right-click to download Bill Foster podcast

But getting the chance to play in a venue like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and junior forward Jordan Zalba talks about when he learned that rumor would become reality.

“I remember talking to coach, ‘Hey is this going on?  I need to know — my parents they want to know.’  Then, when we found out, it was pretty exciting, and I remember texting my dad right away and all my friends.  Just pure excitement all around.”

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Jordan Zalba in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Right-click to download Jordan Zalba podcast

The teams will face off at 8:00pm on January 4th.  Tickets are still available, and can be purchased at evenue.com.  (Use promo code “NU”.)

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