It's finally official. The Flyers and Penguins will be playing outside at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on February 18, 2017 as part of the NHL Stadium Series. It will also be part of the 50th anniversary year for both teams.
The NHL made the announcement on Wednesday night on NBC Sports Network. The Flyers vs. Penguins game will be one of four outdoor games that year, joining the Heritage Classic between the Oilers and Jets in Winnipeg on October 23, the Centennial Classic between the Leafs and Wings in Toronto on January 1 and the Winter Classic on January 2 between the Blues and Blackhawks in St. Louis.
Rumor has it that Philadelphia will also host a Flyers-Penguins outdoor game, likely at Lincoln Financial Field and likely in the 2017-18 season, as part of the compromise between the two Pennsylvania teams. Originally the plan was for one neutral site game at Penn State University in State College, but that plan did not come to fruition so we'll be getting two games over two years instead. The Flyers, of course, are basically guaranteed to win both because that's how the Flyers vs. Penguins rivalry works.
Ticket details are not yet available, but this will almost certainly be the most popular of the four outdoor games next season.
Here's the entire league press release:
NEW YORK (March 9, 2016) – The Pittsburgh Penguins® will play host to the Philadelphia Flyers® outdoors at Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, as part of the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™, the National Hockey League (NHL®) announced today.
This regular-season outdoor matchup will celebrate the 50th anniversary of both the Penguins and Flyers, who were introduced to the NHL as part of the six-team 1967 NHL Expansion. As intrastate foes, the rivalry between these two clubs was natural and immediate, beginning with their first meeting in October 1967, which also was the first NHL game ever played at Philadelphia’s famed Spectrum.
"The Flyers and Penguins will continue their long-standing ‘Second Six’ rivalry with this Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "With Heinz Field as the setting and State of Pennsylvania bragging rights on the line, we know the first outdoor meeting of these clubs will add to the long list of great Flyers-Penguins memories as they each celebrate 50 years in the NHL."
Additional details on the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ - including broadcast and ticketing information, and other events surrounding the game - will be announced in the coming months.
"These intense Stadium Series matchups continue to epitomize everything Coors Light is about: cold, refreshing beer; good times; and conquering your personal mountains," Coors Light marketing director Ryan Marek said. "The Penguins and Flyers have been one another’s mountains for 50 years, and we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to show fans the next chapter and see which team will ‘Climb On’ this year!"
Since 1967, the Penguins and Flyers have met 274 times during the regular season (PIT: 94-143-37 = 225, PHI: 150-86-38 = 338). In addition, they have faced off in the Stanley Cup® Playoffs six-times, with Philadelphia holding a 4-2 series advantage, including a win in their most recent meeting in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (4-2). The Penguins were victors in the only meeting between these two teams this season, a 4-3 win on Jan. 21. The clubs will face off three more times in 2015-16, on March 19, April 3 and April 9.
"This is a great opportunity for our fans to see the Penguins face off in a unique outdoor setting against the Flyers, our longtime rivals and another member of the 1967 expansion class," said Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse. "It will be one of the centerpieces of our 50th anniversary celebration, and we’re excited to be taking part. We appreciate the support of Dan and Art Rooney and the entire Pittsburgh Steelers organization in working with us on this event."
"The Flyers are very excited to be able to compete in the outdoor Stadium Series against our intrastate rival Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field," said Flyers President Paul Holmgren. "This will be a great showcase between two teams celebrating their 50th anniversary."
The Penguins and Flyers have always featured some of the top talent in the NHL, including Hart Trophy winners Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Bobby Clarke and Eric Lindros. Last Wednesday, the current members of these clubs had a combined nine players named to the initial rosters for World Cup of Hockey 2016. The Penguins, who will play in their fourth regular-season outdoor NHL game, are led by their captain and two-time Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby as well as Evgeni Malkin, a winner of both the Hart Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy. The Flyers, who will make their third appearance outdoors, counter with Hart Trophy finalist Claude Giroux, NHL All-Star Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere, who earlier this season made headlines with a 15-game point streak, a record for an NHL rookie defenseman.
"For the Penguins and Flyers players and fans this outdoor ‘Battle of Pennsylvania’ will be a highlight of the 2016-17 season," NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider said. "The rivalry between them is one of the best in hockey, and it will be exciting to see them play at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh."
NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide extensive coverage live from the event leading up to and after the game. NHL Social™ will have exclusive coverage on all social platforms, including the use of the hashtag #StadiumSeries.