Mario Laces Em’ Up For Winter Classic Alumni Game…

Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Brian Trottier, Paul Coffey, Bill Guerin, Peter Bondra and a host of all-time greats from both the Pens and Caps will lace em’ up on 12/31 at Heinz Field.

That is right ladies and gentlemen, Mario Lemieux will take part in an alumni game that will feature some of the all-time greatest Penguins against a group of all-timers from the Caps side. Mario will be joined by fellow Hall of Famers Paul Coffey, Ron Francis and Brian Trottier, as well as “youngster” (as the Pens news release jokingly put it) Bill Guerin.

The Capitals team will be led by Peter Bondra. Full rosters for the event will be released in the near future.

“We all grew up playing on outdoor rinks, so we’re really looking forward to having this chance to skate on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field,” Lemieux said. “There is so much history between the Penguins and Capitals and it will be good to get together and see friends on both benches.”

For $25, fans will be able to purchase one ticket that will enable them to attend both the Alumni Game at 9:30 a.m. and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ practice session at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 31 at Heinz Field.

Seating capacity for these Dec. 31 events will be 10,000. Tickets will be available for sale starting Friday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. at or by calling 1.800.745.3000.

The Washington Capitals’ 2 p.m. practice will be closed to the public.

The alumni game and NHL team practices will be the first official events on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field. The 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played on the same rink Saturday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m.

This is a great idea and one that I am absolutely thrilled to see. Especially because I got taken to task four years ago when I relayed a report that surfaced on what was then the independent saying that an “old timers” game featuring Mario Lemieux was in the works if the Penguins would have been selected to host the inaugural Winter Classic.

It never came to pass then, as the inaugural classic ended up in Buffalo, but the day has finally come.

I for one am looking forward to this “old-timers” game a little more than the actual contest! It will be amazing to see some of the classics from some of the all-time great playoff series between these two teams on the ice together again.

More later…