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Mario the headliner for Heinz Field alumni game

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Mario the headliner for Heinz Field alumni game
 
Mario Lemieux called it a career before the NHL began playing outdoor games on New Year's Day, but the Pittsburgh Penguins legend will get his chance to skate on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field along with fellow alumni against a team of Washington Capitals alumni on New Year's Eve.

The alumni game and an open practice session to follow at 11:30 a.m. by the current Penguins will be the first official events on the rink at Heinz Field. One ticket, for $25, will enable fans to attend both the alumni game and the Penguins' practice. The Capitals' 2 p.m. practice will be closed to the public.

This will mark the first time Lemieux, the owner of the Penguins, will play in an organized game since he announced his final retirement as a player in 2006. It comes a day before the current-day Penguins play the current-day Capitals in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

"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."

"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. There is so much history between the Penguins and Capitals and it will be good to get together and see friends on both benches." -- Mario Lemieux

Seating capacity for the Dec. 31 events will be 10,000. Tickets will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at  www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

The alumni game, which will take place Friday, Dec. 31 at 9:30 a.m., also features Hall of Famers Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Bryan Trottier and Larry Murphy on the Pittsburgh side. Eddie Johnston, Pierre Larouche and Randy Hillier will coach the Penguins, and Jack Riley -- the team's original general manager in 1967 -- will serve as GM.

New alumni Gary Roberts and Bill Guerin join the roster for the Penguins, which also includes Phil Bourque, Rob Brown, Rod Buskas, Jay Caufield, Bob Errey, Dave Hannan, Francois Leroux, Troy Loney, Greg Malone, Gilles Meloche, Craig Simpson, Frank Pietrangelo, Gary Rissling, Rick Tocchet, Kevin Stevens and Warren Young.

Peter Bondra, a 500-goal scorer in his NHL career, leads the Capitals' roster, which also includes Michal Pivonka, Scott Walker, Sylvain Cote, Gregory Adams, Don Beaupre, Alan Hanglesben, Nick Kypreos, Yvon Labre, Gord Lane, Craig Laughlin, Mark Lofthouse, Denis Maruk, Alan May, Paul Mulvey, Robert Picard, Errol Rausse, Pat Ribble, Ken Sabourin and Blair Stewart.  Others may be added in the coming days.