Phantoms, Bears to head outside

The Adirondack Phantoms have announced that the team will host the Hershey Bears at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Jan. 6, 2012.

The outdoor American Hockey League game will be part of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic celebration in Philadelphia.

"This is an extremely exciting day for the Phantoms organization and Phantoms fans everywhere," said Phantoms President Rob Brooks. "A hockey celebration and atmosphere unlike anything the AHL has ever seen will happen at Citizens Bank Park. We are extremely grateful to (Comcast Spectacor President) Peter Luukko for helping make this truly great event a reality."

It was also announced that the Philadelphia Flyers will play the New York Rangers in the NHL’s annual Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 2. This is the fifth NHL Winter Classic but the first ever to also feature an AHL outdoor game as part of the festivities.

"The American Hockey League has a strong following in the region and it will be a terrific experience for Pennsylvania hockey fans as the historic Phantoms-Bears rivalry is renewed outdoors at Citizens Bank Park," said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are thrilled to join with the Philadelphia Flyers in adding AHL hockey to their outdoor showcase."

The Phantoms and Bears will also wear specially designed jerseys honoring the significance of the game, similar to the fantastic jerseys the NHL teams have worn in their Winter Classic games.

"This will be a terrific opportunity for hockey fans throughout Philadelphia to see the future prospects of the Flyers in a truly unique setting," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. "We’re very excited to add a Phantoms regular season game to our week-long celebration of the Winter Classic being in Philadelphia. We look forward to working with both (owners) Rob and Jim Brooks in bringing the Phantoms back to Philadelphia for this truly special night."

This will be the third outdoor game in AHL history. The Syracuse Crunch hosted the Binghamton Senators on Feb. 20, 2010, at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse in front of 21,508 fans, setting a single-game AHL attendance record. Last season, 21,673 fans saw the Connecticut Whale host the Providence Bruins at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 19, 2011. (The Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies will also be playing outside this season, with a game at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., on Jan. 21, 2012.)

"It is exciting to have a chance to break the league attendance record," Brooks said. "In fact, that is our goal and we absolutely believe it will happen. Fans will want to be there just to soak in the magical atmosphere and to be a part of history!"

Citizens Bank Park is the Major League Baseball home of the Philadelphia Phillies and will have a seating capacity of approximately 40,000. Details on how to purchase tickets for the game will be available soon. One way to be guaranteed a ticket is to become a Phantoms season ticket holder.