One of the fun events surrounding the Winter Classic is the game featuring alumni from the two participating teams. It's a chance for fans to bathe in nostalgia as their heroes of yesteryear (slowly) tool around the ice in something that resembles a hockey game.
The alumni game slated for this year, which will be played at Comerica Park as part of Detroit's Winter Festival in conjunction with the Winter Classic, got a huge boost on Tuesday. The Red Wings announced that Tampa Bay Lightning general manager and former Detroit captain Steve Yzerman will suit up for the contest against Toronto Maple Leafs old-timers.
Think they're excited in Detroit?
Yzerman had been on the fence about participating, but it sounded as though he was getting a lot of pressure from former teammates to get in the game. Yzerman, who also doubles as Team Canada's general manager for the 2014 Olympics, has said several times that he hasn't even skated in years. Perhaps once he has the No. 19 on his back again, it will all come back to him.
Yzerman will join former Red Wing greats of his era like Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, Paul Coffey and Brendan Shanahan among many others. Having the longest tenured captain in team history in Yzerman is a huge boost and a big draw for fans.
That Red Wings team might actually be pretty darn good with some of those more recent retirees on the list.
The Alumni Showdown, which will be played as a doubleheader with so many former players committed, will be held Dec. 31, starting at 1 p.m.