Flyers to host Rangers in Winter Classic

The Philadelphia Flyers will host the New York Rangers in the 2012 Winter Classic.

This year's outdoor game in the United States will take place on January 2 between the two heated Atlantic Division rivals at Citizens Bank Park, home to Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies. It will be a 1 p.m. (et) start.

Normally held on New Year's Day, this season's contest will be staged a day later to avoid a conflict with the NFL, which will conclude its regular season on January 1. The Philadelphia Eagles are slated to host a game that day against the Washington Redskins at nearby Lincoln Financial Field.

It will mark the fifth Winter Classic overall and the second for the Flyers, who took on the Bruins in the 2010 contest at historic Fenway Park in Boston. The Rangers will make their first appearance in what has become one of the most anticipated games on the NHL calendar.

"The Rangers-Flyers rivalry is one of our very best," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "It is only a short distance from Broadway to Broad Street, and over the years, these not-so-neighborly teams have provided an assortment of memorable games. I have every expectation that the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will provide more great moments to remember."

Bettman made the announcement Monday at the ballpark with players, coaches and officials from both teams in attendance.

NBC Sports will again broadcast the contest in the United States, while CBC and RDS will do the honors in Canada.

The inaugural Winter Classic was held in 2008 and became an instant success when the Penguins beat the Sabres in a shootout with snow falling at Ralph Wilson Stadium in suburban Buffalo.

Chicago hosted Detroit at Wrigley Field in 2009 and the 2011 contest featured the Capitals and Penguins at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.

There was also a Canadian outdoor game last season between Canadiens and Flames in Calgary, but there are no plans for an additional outdoor contest this season.