Blog Entry

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.

Comments

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:20 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

oh and i'd do anything to see gordie howe 2 goals and a fight in the alumni game!!!!



Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:18 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

this should sell out in about an hour.  should be a good show.  if i lived anywhere near there i would be there.    

who cares what city is the center of hockey, both of those pplaces bleed hockey. 




Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:13 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

This could possibly be the most epic Winter Classic in it's first 10 years. 
I agree! And I guarantee you this ... those 115,000 tickets will be bought up like hotcakes. I'm a Detrot homer and could care less if Toronto wants to call itself " the center of the hockey universe" they are who they are and it will be a great event. Besides ... I love that city.

Just makes me hope that the next time Philly and Pittsburgh are in it that they are in it together, and at Beaver Stadium. 
Great idea! I'd watch that match.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:50 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Anyone who thinks Toronto isn't the biggest hockey city is kidding themselves. Sure, Detroit might win the USA, but they won't win NA.



Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:32 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

wolverqueens IN A BIG BOWL GAME NEXT yr,,doubt it, they actually play some away games on the schedule



Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:30 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Toronto is a great hockey city though, one of the best out there.  But let's not get silly with the universe crap..

Name one city that is a bigger hockey city then Toronto?




Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:26 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

..to 8cowboys22...There will not be alot of "Michigan" people around for this game..the large majority of REAL fans will be somewhere with the football team, preparing for a bowl game...another big portion of those Michigan people will be at their respective homes, since Christmas break will still be going on..this will become one of the "hottest tickets" in sports history, with Detroit being an hour away, and a huge number being 4-5 hours away, in Ontario. The Canadian Passenger Rail Company, "VIA" should be licking their chops at this time..I cannot imagine how BIG some of those trains from Union Station in Toronto, to Windsor, are going to be!!! This will make for a much needed shot in the arm for this entire region!!!



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:13 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Its Toronto as the article says Centre of the HOCKEY UNIVERSE!

Yeah sure, whatever you say ALFI ! LOL  

Pretty sure it was the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs that said that,,,,,,, what a shocker.

Toronto is a great hockey city though, one of the best out there.  But let's not get silly with the universe crap.. 



Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:11 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Canada's team is Toronto, French Canada's team is Montreal. Im sure theres debate there, but bottom line is Toronto has a far bigger market(Southern Ontario) and you can find more Toronto fans across North America then any other team. I know Toronto has been in the roughest stretch in franchise history, but you go to any Toronto away game and theres a ton of Leaf fans in the stands. Theres an awesome feeling when Toronto is in Buffalo or Florida or Ottawa and you hear the crowds cheering Go Leafs Go, it sends a chill down my spine. Toronto fans have been patient but the team is finally turning the corner.

Its about time Toronto is getting back on track, because the league is better when Toronto is a playoff team. Next years Winter Classic will be an awesome event, Detroit and Toronto have such a great historical rivalry, topped only by the Leafs/Habs rivalry. Its a shame Toronto or Montreal dont have a venue that could hold as many fans as Detroit, but hopefully sometime within the next few years we will be able to see a Winter Classic featuring Canada's 2 most storied franchises. Either way, im glad the Leafs will be getting to play in the Classic at a time when the team is actually good, because as I said, its been a rough few years since the Leafs last made the playoffs...




Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:05 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Maple Leaf fans are going to pack that place.


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