Outdoor game produces largest-ever AHL crowd
Friday, 01.06.2012 / 10:05 PM / 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Rangers v. Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers aren't the only ones who can pack Citizens Bank Park.
Five days after the Flyers and Rangers battled in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic before a crowd of 46,967, the American Hockey League had the biggest crowd in its 76-year history when 45,653 fans turned out Friday night to see the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL farm team, battle the Hershey Bears, Washington's top affiliate. Adirondack won 4-3 on Shane Harper's goal 58 seconds into OT after the Phantoms' Ben Holmstrom forced the extra period by scoring with 21 seconds left in regulation.
It was the third outdoor game in AHL history, and the crowd more than doubled the previous single-game attendance mark in the AHL. Last year's outdoor event between Connecticut and Providence drew 21,673 fans at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., and the inaugural outdoor game between Syracuse and Binghamton in 2010 saw a crowd of 21,508 fans pack the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
The city of Philadelphia is now home to both the regular-season and playoff records for single-game AHL attendance. In 2005, a capacity crowd of 20,103 fans packed the Wachovia Center (now the Wells Fargo Center) to watch the Phantoms clinch the Calder Cup championship. The Bears and Phantoms were fierce in-state rivals during the 13 seasons that the Phantoms called Philadelphia home before moving to Glens Falls, N.Y., in 2009.
The game will be rebroadcast in the United States on the NHL Network at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.