Republican vice presidential nominee and self-described "hockey mom" Sarah Palin will take center ice for the National Hockey League Saturday night.

The Alaska governor will drop the ceremonial first puck of the season when the Philadelphia Flyers face off against the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center, the Flyers announced Wednesday.

Appearing at a venue named after a failed bank isn't ideal for a Republican politician whose ticket is being rocked by a massive financial crisis but Flyers owner Ed Snider is excited.

Snider, the founding owner of the team and chairman of the Comcast-Spectacor media empire, chose Palin for the honor because she's "the most popular hockey mom in North America," he said in a statement."We are very excited she has accepted our offer and we are very proud of the publicity she is generating for hockey moms and the sport of hockey."

The candidate's appearance also ties in with a team promotion inspired by her "hockey mom" moniker. The Flyers are offering $5,000 in prizes to greater Philadelphia's "ultimate hockey mom" through an online contest.

Palin's ineligible because she doesn't live in the Philly area, though she has been spending a fair bit of time there and in and other parts of hotly contested Pennsylvania during the campaign.

Palin and Snider appeared together at a Center City pub to watch the first debate between GOP presidential nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. The veep hopeful donned a Phillies jacket and Flyers cap for the occasion.

Palin's should prepared herself before facing Philly's famously raucous sports fans Saturday. Some throaty booing is pretty much a guarantee.

The "hockey mom" will have one friend for sure, though, in Snider. The businessman, whose company also owns the National Basketball Association's 76ers, has been generous to the McCain-Palin campaign and the GOP. On top of a whopping $20,400 he gave to the Republican National Committee, Snider maxed out with $4,600 to McCain according the Center for Responsive Politics. He and his wife, Christine, also gave the maximum to McCain's one-time Republican primary rival, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

-Jeffrey Young