Why, by having them participate in an outdoor hockey game on relative neutral ground at Penn State University‘s Beaver Stadium, of course.
The possibility for this event to happen is not fantasy; it could actually happen as both NHL teams are seriously considering it. Flyers’ club President Peter Luukko confirmed that the Flyers and the Penguins are both interested and have approached the league in preliminary discussions.
With the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium and five additional outdoor games dubbed “The Stadium Series” set to commence next season, why not add a seventh outdoor game?
Penn State is really interested in holding an outdoor game, as Associate Athletic Director Joe Battista confirmed to WJAC-TV. A matchup between the Flyers and the Penguins would bring a lot of interest as well as revenue, but there is also the possibility that an outdoor game might not be between these two.
Penn State Alumni Terry Pegula donated $88 Million to the hockey club, making it a full-fledged program, and built Happy Valley their first ice arena. He also happens to own the Buffalo Sabres and their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. With Pegula’s influence on Penn State’s hockey program, don’t count the Sabres out of outdoor game talks.
Penn State is one of the universities in Pennsylvania that has a pretty even split when it comes to the Flyers-Penguins rivalry. Penn State’s appeal is statewide, so it is not surprising that kids from either side of the Susquehanna River move themselves to Happy Valley to attend school, which means that half the student body favors the Flyers, and the other half the Penguins.
Due to the split, the school would essentially be a neutral location, and it would also cut down on traveling time for fans of either team.
But, an NHL outdoor game is not the only option the University is looking into. Since Penn State Hockey is a relatively new program, they will open the Pegula Ice Arena this season as a first-time member of the Big Ten Hockey Conference. Due to this and the option to try to gather more interest in the hockey team, they are also considering an NCAA outdoor hockey game. According to reports, some of the schools the Nittany Lions are considering facing off against are Michigan, Boston College, or Notre Dame.
The university will have to take extra security precautions, and will also require the event to be held before the beginning of January. Right now, everything is still in the planning process and if the university does decide to hold an outdoor game, it may not even be held next season.
Either way, if Penn State hosts an NHL or NCAA outdoor hockey game at Beaver Stadium, it should be a fun event that everyone will be trying to score a ticket for.