The 2011-12 Winter Classic will be played on January 2, prompting many ignorant fans to ask, “Why?”

Playing hockey outside is one of the greatest moments of sheer joy the new year can bring.  It happens early, before we are all crushed under the weight of broken promises and failed attempts at success; it continues the trend of day drinking that was started two days before on New Year’s Eve.

It even ignites historical imagery, as hockey was invented by vikings, having evolved from intense chases of their victims across frozen bodies of water.  That’s where the natural violence of the game comes from, only in our modern incarnation, referees stop players before one of them has been decapitated and the other is wearing his severed head like a hat.

Just imagine they're wearing viking helmets, okay?

This year, the Winter Classic will be played by your Philadelphia Flyers and a group of creeps and cowards that call themselves the “New York Rangers.”  Citizens Bank Park will be the venue, as workers have been hustling to transform the Phillies stadium into a hockey rink for weeks.

As a Philadelphian, you’ve got that instinctive inclination to despise any sports team from New York, and in some cases, people will tell you that that is irrational and worrisome and that your anger is becoming “… a real issue.”  This is yet another instance when you get to tell those people to shut up, because if the Flyers don’t win the Winter Classic, it sets a horrible precedent for the rest of 2012.

Without our captain, Chris Pronger, how much of a chance do the Flyers really have?  I don’t know, they should be okay.  We still have Claude Giroux, who seems to have returned from concussion-leave with enough time before his head finishes filling with blood to still be spectacular.  We still have Jaromir Jagr, who, as a legend, has excelled, even though he has earned the ire of every team in the region.  In fact, he’s returning to Pittsburgh tomorrow, and reporters have already asked him how it will be, despite time travel not being invented yet.

“If you want to hear boos, go to Pittsburgh.”

Jaromir Jagr

It’s not Jagr’s fault that people in Pittsburgh find the city so disgusting, they just boo constantly, whether out street-walking or sitting in their own private homes, hating life.  And he realizes this, which is why he hasn’t allowed to deplorable actions of everyone outside of Philadelphia affect his level of play.

And we still have Scott Hartnell, who survived a recent incident in which players on the Tampa Bay Lightning began poking him with their sticks from the bench.

Sure, tickets for the Winter Classic may be out of your price range at several hundred dollars for a seat that’s worse than your own couch at home.  But you could always hit up the minor league Winter Classic, in which the Adirondack Phantoms are playing… someone.  Look, it doesn’t matter who.  The point is, they’re playing.  And ticket prices won’t force you to sell off one of your kids like you’ve been tempted to all those times before.

So wake up on the 2nd, wipe the hangover off your face, and tune in on the at 1pm.  The Flyers need you to help them set the bar high on 2012.  Otherwise, we’ll just keep being dominant with the occasional humiliating loss.