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: Sep 11, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:02 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Is Canada's team the Mapleleafs ?  NOT Pretty sure it is Montreal


LuciaJobs
Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

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ALFIwantsout
Since: Sep 28, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:44 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:37 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Well, the Red Wings will get plenty of fans going to that game, and some Maple Leafs fans coming from Windsor. I just hope they don't have a lot of drunk and bored Michigan students at the game. Those people in the bleachers at the "big house will have a tough time seeing the game, unless they have a telescope. I'll be watching that one on TV.



Since: Jan 16, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:36 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

I'm not sure what Canadians you are talking about, Teres Minor, but then again, I've only lived in Canada for 43 years.  Way to stereotype and make it an us vs. them thing.  Childish.  Canadians are among the finest people in the world, and they tip as well or better than anyone else.  This is nonsense.



Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:32 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

"It's Hockeytown against the center of the hockey universe" Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke joked at the news conference.
Out freaking standing! Ann Arbor is the last place I want to be on Jan 1st but ... I'll be flying home for that bit history for sure!



Since: Jan 26, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:22 pm
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

I hope the CBA gets worked out or all this is for nothing.



Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:00 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. 


Just makes me hope that the next time Philly and Pittsburgh are in it that they are in it together, and at Beaver Stadium. 



Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:38 am
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

Another winner event for the NHL. Two great rivalry teams dripping with hocky tradition and fans and a great great venue. It seems to me that sunken bowl shaped seating configuration of the Big House really lends itself well to hockey viewing, allowing the fans to be closer to the action. Playing in a baseball stadium keep a big chunk of the seating well away from the make shift rink. A big part of the fun of a hockey game is seeing fans going crazy in the stands when there's hitting in the corners, fights, etc. I love the outdoor game setting, but hockey needs to get the fans closer to the rink to REALLY create something spectacular. The thought of 108,000 hockey mad fans going nuts in an outdoor venue sounds like must see TV to me, especially if it's 10-20 degrees F and snowing. LOL Good job NHL!



Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:33 am
 

NHL announces Winter Classic to be at Big House

It's all about the $$, and I feel sorry for the schmucks that are going to pay far too much money to attend an event that they will hardly be able to see.


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