Blog Entry

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:13 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 12:39 pm
The Big House has hosted the biggest hockey attendance ever already. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The NHL will make a major announcement on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Detroit's Comerica Park. It will then make a second announcement at 1:15 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Because we are really good with the power of deduction, we have a pretty good guess as to what this is all about. Probably something along the lines a Winter Classic at the Big House.

Petty sarcasm aside, there's no doubt now that the league is going to make next year's Winter Classic official, pitting the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the campus of the University of Michigan.

The school's Board of Regents signed off on the deal this week to allow the NHL to move in for a little while. Here's more from

The NHL is offering to pay $3 million to the university for the licensing of the stadium, and the university would give the NHL use of Michigan Stadium from Dec. 1, 2012 until mid-January 2013 -- including time for all potential set-up and breakdown scenarios.

The dual announcement is being done because it has been previously reported that to help bring the festivities to Detroit and appease Wings owner Mike Illitch, Comerica Park, home to the MLB's Tigers, will also host some of the events.

Specifically, the second rink in Detroit will host the majority of the action accroding to the Macomb Daily.

Comerica Park will host an American Hockey League game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies, the minor league affiliates of the Wings and Leafs.

It will also be the site of the Great Lakes Invitational, along with two Ontario Hockey League games and numerous high school and youth games.

Michigan and Michigan State will be two of the GLI teams. Three OHL teams – the Plymouth Whalers, Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires – have already been confirmed.

Comerica could also host the alumni game between the Wings and Leafs.

Hockey at the Big House has been done before. Michigan played intrastate rival Michigan State a few years back and drew over 100,000 for the game. A similar crowd can no doubt be expected with the Leafs and Wings bringing their Original Six flavor and their big fan bases to campus.

It's also the first time that a Canadian team is getting in on the Winter Classic action, a move that did come as a little surprise when it was first mentioned. The game has become a showcase for hockey in the States, Canada obviously needs no help in promoting the game. It's NBC's biggest hockey telecast of the season by far and ratings are important.

The fear is that a Canadian team won't bring the same ratings, but the Leafs have a lot of fans scattered across America. Same goes for the Wings. I don't think it will be as big of an issue as people think. The spectacle of the Winter Classic is enough to bring in fans of any team to begin with.

The announcement certainly comes a lot earlier than the last one. The NHL didn't make the last game in Philadelphia official until September. It is being a little more proactive this time.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:04 am

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

Perfect. An original Six contest in the best stadium in the country. Hope the weather cooperates. The atmosphere in the stadium will be outstanding but the best seat will be the easy chair in front of my flat screen TV.  Unless you're seated in the first 20 or so rows, it'll be pretty doggone hard to see the puck, let alone jersey numbers. At any rate, here's to a great winter classic and some terrific match ups at Comerica Park.

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:20 am

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

This is an awesome place to have it. I can't wait to see the atmosphere and the game itself.  I wish they would have the Super Bowl in a cold climate like this one day.  Events like this are good for the game of Hockey.

Since: Jan 16, 2011
Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:06 pm

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

I can't wait for the all of the events... With all the activities surrounding this game it feels almost like when we hosted the Super Bowl a few years ago..My son has already called and asked me if I wanted to go. I am looking forward  to spending time together going to the various games..... What can get better than that...

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2012 4:52 pm

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.


Been waiting for this since the first Winter Classic...

I will be there, with 100,000+ others.

Let's Go Red Wings!!

Actually...I'll have on my Leafs sweater/Red Wings cap, or Wings jersey/Leafs cap... - it will be fun no matter who wins!!

I wish I could DVR it with NBC Hi-def and cameras, with CBC commentary... 

Like Bart Scott says:  "Can't wait!!"

Since: Feb 8, 2012
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:45 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 19, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:39 pm

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

I will definitely be there.  This will be a real classic!  Go Leafs Go!!!

Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:31 pm

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

Fabulous news. I'm sure the Big House will be filled to capacity for this one. I don't think the TV ratings will be an issue. LGRW!

Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:05 pm

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

This Leaf fan will be there for sure. Can't wait to come to Michigan and enjoy this experience with some of the best fans in the NHL. It's too bad the Leafs and Wings never play each other anymore (23 playoff series against one another) but this should be great.

Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:53 pm

NHL to announce Classic at Big House on Thurs.

Another feather in the cap of Americas most storied college football, NHL, and fans of the greatest sports city in America. Titles, titles, titles, its what we do!

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