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NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:26 pm

By Brian Stubits

The NHL made it all officially official on Thursday in Detroit. The Winter Classic will be held at the Big House in Ann Arbor against the Maple Leafs and Red Wings next New Year's Day.

"It's Hockeytown against the center of the hockey universe" Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke joked at the news conference.

It had been in the works for a while. The talk of the press box at the Winter Classic in Philly just over a month ago was that Detroit was going to be hosting the game. Since then everything has come into focus and the NHL just clarified (and confirmed) it all.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said that there will be about 115,000 tickets available for the game, and assuming they sell them all (they will) it will break the record for a hockey audience, also achieved at Michigan Stadium when University of Michigan played Michigan State.

"I'm all pshyced, I want to get my skates!" Red Wings owner Mike Illitch said. "But I can't skate."

In addition to the big game, downtown Detroit will be hosting events all week with the Hockeytown Winter Festival including the Alumni Game at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. The rink in Detroit will be very busy as college and OHL games will also be held there.

In making the announcement, Bettman estimated that the events in Detroit itself will bring 150,000-200,000 fans to the city for all the events.

It will prove to be the busiest Winter Classic held to date, hands down. Not only will there be significantly more action on the rinks, but there will be two rinks at two stadiums. That will be a lot of work. But the good news is that nothing should affect the ice for the NHL game as Ann Arbor will only host the main event.

Personally, I think it's a fantastic idea, even if it will make life a little tough on the behind-the-scenes people and those covering the events, shuffling back and forth between the cities.

Hockeytown hosting the best week of outdoor hockey? Yes, please!

More from Eye on Hockey

Ranking the Winter Classic venues
Alumni Game possibilities

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


Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:08 am

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Figures the most ignorant statement on here is from someone from Chicago.
People obsessed with their hatred of Detroit...  (Nice chants you have:  "Dee-troit sucks". Get a life.)

While you're at it - get an education, where they may teach you reading comprehension.

1 - There is no stadium in Detroit that seats 115,000 people, and it looks like the goal is a record attendance number.
(Does Chicago have any stadium CLOSE to this capacity? No.) 

2 - We DO have a baseball stadium DOWNTOWN where they are holding several other events during the course
of the week.  This will be the biggest Winter Classic EVER.  Bigger than what you and your fairweather fans had a few
years back at your old Stadium where your loser baseball team plays.  Luckily, the Wings were there, so you sold 43,000 tickets.

Do all hockey fans a favor, Mr. Chicago: Iron the creases out of your Hossa jersey you just bought, learn a little bit
about the game, the cities, the history.  (Bring Penguins "fans" with you, as they are your ugly cousins-in-fairweatherness.)
When you're all learned-up, then you can talk about hockey with someone from Toronto and/or Detroit.

Until then? Get off our page - and talk with your fellow hockey rookies.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:52 pm

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

bigbang - I'm not sure exactly where you're from, but it apparently isn't Earth.

I'm a Detroiter, and even I can admit that Toronto is a bigger Hockey city than Detroit.
Certainly Montreal as well. These people eat/live/breath the game - and not just the NHL.

Anyone that thinks WE hold a candle to the Canadian teams has obviously never been to one of those
cities during hockey season.  

Detroit may be Hockeytown, USA - but give props where they are due.

Either  way...when it comes to the game:  Let's Go Red Wings!!

Since: Sep 28, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:24 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 27, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:18 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:46 pm

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

we all want it at comerica park.  this is nothing more than a corporate money grab.  1997, 1998, 2002, 2008 stanley cup champions.  that's 4 in 14 years, just in case you were wondering.

Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:34 pm

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Sounds pretty awesome.  Playing outside in the open air adds a lot to the intrigue of the game.  In a stadium easily that seats over 100,000, it should be interesting.

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:09 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:52 pm

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Funny detroit sucks so much they have to hold the event outside of the city!

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:45 pm

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

In ten minutes this will sell

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:31 pm

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Yeah it's kind of sad. The "Real" Leaf fans are usually stuck at the bars watching the games or up in the nose bleeds. To be honest I'd rather watch a game at the bar with the real fans than at the ACC. It's nice to go to a game once in a while but I'd rather be with the real fans. I've been to more games in Montreal and Ottawa over the last 5 years than games in Toronto.

They'll never make more tickets available to "Real" Leafs fans as you put it, because they would almost certainly have to bring down the prices a little bit.   Most fans can't afford to spend what they're charging these days.   And it is definitely sad to say the least, if they cared a little less about money life long fans could afford to go to some games and really make the place rock.  

I will say this though, the ACC is nice but the best time I ever had was a very long time ago at the old Maple Leaf Gardens.  Detroit at Toronto, I believe the Wings beat the Leafs 4-1.  But that wasn't why I had a great time, it was because I had some pretty cool people around me at the game.   I was a lot younger and a pretty hyped up Wings fan, but nobody threatened or tried to hurt me.  Not like what happens in sports these days, with fans getting violent and stupid.

Might be the best time I've ever had a sporting event..... ever. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or