By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s outdoor hockey at Citizens Bank Park today, with a new start time of 3 p.m., as the Flyers and Rangers face off in the NHL’s Winter Classic.
Like the Super Bowl or Monday Night Football, it’s the one game the Flyers and Rangers players know all their peers will be watching. Casual fans will watch the Winter Classic, too, for the novelty of outdoor hockey.
Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko says they’ll see how Flyered up Philadelphia is.
“This has become a real celebration of where hockey is in Philadelphia. We’re on par with Boston, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois now. We are a hockey town.”
Luukko says the annual New Year’s Classic has raised the profile of the NHL.
“You’re taking people who may not even watch hockey, or are casual fans, and taking them to the next level — to people that maybe want to go to games, maybe want to play a little, maybe fall in love with the sport.”
The Flyers played in the Winter Classic two years ago in Boston, but Luukko says he’s noticed one difference with the game in his hockey town.
“I’m much more popular this time around. Everybody wants a ticket!”