PHILADELPHIA — On January 5, Dragons and Wildcats will take the ice under the stars on the outdoor rink at Citizens Bank Park in a matchup of city hockey rivals dubbed “The Crosstown Classic.” The contest, featuring Drexel and Villanova’s club hockey teams, is a unique outdoor hockey experience that is part of a weeklong slate of games surrounding the National Hockey League’s “Winter Classic” game on January 2.
“For a Drexel student to play ice hockey on such a grand scale is a tremendous experience,” Athletics Director Dr. Eric Zillmer said.
It will be the first time either of the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association rivals has played a regular-season game outdoors. Zillmer will drop the puck for the 7:15 p.m. contest, which was made possible by sponsorship from LeBow College of Business and Drexel alumnus and trustee Bob Buckley (‘58).
“This is going to be a week of great fun for Philadelphia and I’m happy Drexel’s students can be an important part of the festivities,” said Dr. George P. Tsetsekos, the dean of LeBow College. “Playing and watching outdoor hockey is going to re-create cherished childhood memories for many people.”
The hockey team is one of 30 teams in Drexel’s club sports program that involves 1,000 students in intercollegiate club-level competition.
“This event showcases university club sports. Most people don’t know that club sports participants play intercollegiately at a high level,” Associate Athletics Director Dan Simmons said.
The Dragons are 12-10 on the season and 7-1 in ECHA play led by Head Coach Gregg Marinari. On the ice, Drexel has been one of the top teams in its conference thanks to the play of goalie Daniel Pyne, who was the starter in net for the American team at the 2011 World University Games, and Kyle Zoldy who recently surpassed the 100-point mark for his career.
The Wildcats, coached by Brian Griffin, enter the game with a 4-11 record. The teams met earlier this season, with Drexel blanking the Wildcats 4-0 on November 5.
“Drexel is honored to be a part of this prestigious event,” Marinari said. “Our team has worked hard all season long and we are very excited for an opportunity to showcase our talent against a good Villanova team. The Drexel - Villanova rival goes back a long way within the ECHA. It will be a good example of what Philadelphia college hockey is all about.”
Tickets to the game are available online.
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