The last time the Flyers played an outdoor game, no fans were present. It was Feb. 21, 2021, during the 2020-21 COVID-shortened season, in an outdoor spectacle at Lake Tahoe that was more made for TV than for fan experience.

From the Flyers current roster in the 2023-24 season, only three players participated in that game: Sean Couturier, Travis Sanheim, and Joel Farabee. Only Couturier and Sanheim were on the roster for the Flyers last outdoor game in front of fans in the 2019 Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny played in the 2019 Stadium Series game as well.

Among others on the roster who have appeared in an outdoor game with another team are Garnet Hathaway, Nick Deslauriers, Marc Staal, and Rasmus Ristolainen.

But for most of the Flyers, in the early stages of their careers, this will be their first taste of an NHL outdoor game.

“Played a lot of roller hockey growing up in my backyard in California and I guess that’s outdoors,” Cam York said. “Not on this level, so I’m really excited. It’s going to be a super fun experience.”

“That’s going to be really cool,” Jamie Drysdale said. “Haven’t played in one of those, so it should be a lot of fun and a cool experience. Going to soak it in and hopefully get the win.”

York’s status for Saturday’s game is now in question after leaving Thursday’s overtime loss in Toronto early with an injury.

Even veterans like Cam Atkinson have never experienced the outdoor experience. Atkinson’s only outdoor experience goes all the way back to the outdoor rink built in Fenway Park in 2010, where the Flyers faced the Boston Bruins. Atkinson was still playing for Boston College at the time.

“Hopefully take a look around and enjoy the moment,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to be a surreal moment for sure.”

What does Atkinson remember from playing at Fenway?

“Scoring,” Atkinson said. “Looking up at the Green Monster and behind home plate, just the atmosphere. It was cold, but it was a lot of fun.”

Even for players who have been outdoors before, like Hathaway, it’s a game that many players look forward to from the beginning of the season. Admittedly, as the schedule becomes busier and teams play more frequently, it’s not a moment you think about until it actually arrives.

“It’s exciting. We play so many games in so many days that you lose track,” Hathaway said. “I think guys have been looking forward to the game, kind of the whole year.”

The Flyers will get the opportunity to soak in the scene of MetLife Stadium on Friday afternoon for a practice and share the experience with their families. But the quiet of Friday’s practice will not compare to what awaits on Saturday night, when upwards of 80,000 fans are there to share in it.

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

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