Leafs-Wings To Meet In 2013 NHL Winter Classic

the NHL announced on Thursday that the next Winter Classic will be played at the Big House in Ann Arbor, MI, between two Original Six rivals, Detroit and Toronto. it was back in December 2010, that Michigan-Michigan St. drew a Guinness World Record 104,173 fans for an outdoor hockey game.

This Winter Classic marks the first time that the events of Winter Classic week will be split between two venues — Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium.

While the game at the Big House is the undeniable star — “The NHL and the Big House, it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Chris Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., the Red Wings’ parent company — the Hockeytown Winter Festival is a huge component of the 2013 Winter Classic experience, as well.

“The solution we came to was let’s do a Winter Festival, let’s do everything downtown and we’ll take the game out to Ann Arbor because with 115,000 people and a historic venue and with two historic teams, we thought we couldn’t get much of a bigger stage than that,” Holland said.

“We’re really excited for the fans of Detroit,” Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said. “This community deserves a big event like this. We’re committed to making this the biggest NHL Winter Classic ever.”

The cornerstone of the Hockeytown Winter Festival is the NHL Alumni Showdown, which will feature many of the game’s biggest legends playing in the home of the Tigers, the major league baseball team also owned by Ilitch. The alumni game is scheduled for Dec. 31.

In addition to the Alumni Showdown, an impressive lineup of other games will be played at Comerica Park during the Hockeytown Winter Festival. One headline event will be the Great Lakes Invitational, which will take collegiate teams Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Western Michigan outdoors for the popular and long-standing tournament that is a tradition in Detroit.

There will also be American League hockey between the Grand Rapid Griffins and Toronto Marlies, two Ontario Hockey League games involving the four area teams, high school and youth hockey games played at Comerica, as well as public-skating sessions. The events, which will run for the final two weeks of December, are expected to bring more than 250,000 fans to the downtown area.

the Winter Classic will be Jan. 1, with a backup date of Jan. 2. The game will be televised by NBC, CBC and RDS. click here to read the entire article on NHL.com

since there is no Heritage Classic next year, it’s good that NBC finally wised up and saw the potential draw in having a Canadian team in the Winter Classic.

Winter Classic
stadium shot from “The Big Chill” game between Michigan and Michigan St.

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