The Big House Will Get The Next Winter Classic

Detroit has been known as “Hockeytown” for a long time. Hockey fans know that Red Wings fans are amongst the most passionate fans in the game and the city breathes the sport. The Red Wings have been a powerhouse in the NHL for several years and have reached the biggest stage by winning the Stanley Cup multiple times.

This past week, fans in “Hockeytown” heard the news that the Red Wings would get to play on another big stage when it was announced they will play the Toronto Maple Leafs at “The Big House” on the campus of the University of Michigan for the Winter Classic. The Red Wings played outdoors at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Blackhawks just a couple years ago but will finally play host to an outdoor game of their own.

“The Big House” is no stranger to outdoor hockey games. In 2010, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University played in front of 113,411 fans in what became a world record. This college hockey became between two inner-state rivals drew over 113,411 fans; when the NHL professionals take the ice in 2013 on the very same field, that record could be broken.

The Maple Leafs and the Red Wings were once huge rivals when the league only consisted of the Original Six teams but choosing two of the oldest franchises in the NHL was a smart move. Red Wings and Maple Leafs fans are passionate about their respective teams and follow each and every game closely. With an outdoor setting in place for 2013 and lots of seating, there is no doubt fans for both teams will travel far for the game and pack the place. Red Wings fans have been longing to see their beloved team in another outdoor game and Leafs fans have been waiting for this same opportunity as well.

While the NHL has had success with using baseball stadiums for the winter classic, using a college stadium may not be a bad idea either. “The Big House” has gone under many different improvements over the past few years and has a larger seating capacity than most NFL stadiums can provide. The stadium has also seen outdoor hockey and could draw people from other areas of the state. Using the stadium helped set a world record back in 2010 and could help put the NHL on the map by breaking another world record in 2013 (which is one year before another Olympic year in which NHL players could play again).

With the stage set for another Winter Classic in a historic setting, there is huge potential for another successful NHL milestone in 2013.

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~ by jeffrsabo on February 11, 2012.

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