Announced today by the National Hockey League, the Winter Classic Alumni Game featuring former New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will be moved from its original 1 p.m. ET start time to 3 p.m. Saturday. Weather concerns were the main reason.
That means TV partners CBC/Versus and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia will adjust their schedules and air the game at the new time.
Let’s take a look at the press release received from Versus. One of the last times I’ll get to say that. Probably the last time.
Fifth NHL Winter Classic Presented Live on NBC on January 2 at 1 p.m. ET
NEW YORK – December 30, 2011 – The 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game featuring former Philadelphia Flyers against former New York Rangers in a New Year’s Eve showdown on Dec. 31, which was scheduled to air at 1 p.m. ET, will now air live at 3 p.m. ET on VERSUS. The delayed start time decision by the NHL was based on tomorrow’s weather forecast and should make for optimal game conditions for players and fans.
The Alumni Game will showcase six members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, recent retirees and Stanley Cup winners, including Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Eric Lindros and NBC Sports’ Jeremy Roenick. NBC Sports Network guest analyst and former Rangers coach Mike Keenan, who won the Stanley Cup in 1994 while coaching the team, will lead the Rangers alumni team.
NBC’s coverage of the 2012 NHL Winter Classic begins at 1 p.m. ET on January 2. Immediately following the game at 4 p.m. ET, the NBC Sports Network (currently VERSUS) will be launched with a special NHL Live post-game show hosted by Bob Costas from Philadelphia.
This year’s Winter Classic features an intense rivalry between the top two teams in the Atlantic Division as the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers battle outdoors at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Phillies. This is the fifth iteration of the NHL Winter Classic, an event created by both NBC Sports and the NHL.
NBC’s coverage of the Winter Classic will be hosted by Costas, a 22-time Emmy Award-winner. He will be joined by NBC Sports Group studio analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick for coverage on NBC and post-game coverage on NBC Sports Network. NBC’s game coverage will be led by Emmy Award-winner Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play) Eddie Olczyk (analyst), and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter).
Last year’s Winter Classic was the most-watched NHL regular-season game in 36 years. Played between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and broadcast on New Year’s Day in primetime due to a weather delay, the game was watched by 4.5 million viewers.
That does it.