By Katie Joly
After losing much of the 2012-2013 NHL season, including the Winter Classic, to the lockout, hockey fans in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and the rest of Michigan can rejoice as the 2014 Winter Classic is set for January 1st, 2014 at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Gary Bettman officially announced the event Sunday prior to the Red Wings game.
The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in next year’s showdown in front of 110,000 plus fans. The game is expected to break the outdoor hockey game attendance record which stands at 104,000 when Michigan State and Michigan battled in the Big House three years ago. Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, will host several outdoor games including two alumni games to be held on New Year’s Eve. Comerica will also host several high-school and college games, including the Great Lakes Invitational and AHL and OHL games. Below is a schedule of games, posted on the Detroit Red Wings website, that will take place at Comerica Park in the days leading up to the Classic.
Other events around Detroit leading up to the game are to stay relatively the same as last year’s schedule, though an official schedule hasn’t been released and the added time will hopefully allow the league to do more according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who was quoted on NHL.com, “In terms of the ancillary events, I think we have the ability to do more and do some better planning”. The Hockeytown Winter Festival will draw tens of thousands of fans to downtown Detroit in the weeks leading up to the game.
What will make the event more interesting is that due to the realignment, these two Original Six teams will be playing in the same division next year making the stakes even higher. The event, like other Winter Classics in the past, is sure to create a buzz in the Ann Arbor-Detroit area and as a current resident of Ann Arbor, I’m beyond excited to have the event at Michigan Stadium. There isn’t anything better than a hockey game outside in the elements, where the game is supposed to be played, especially in none other than Hockeytown USA!
Dec. 27-28 GREAT LAKES INVITATIONAL
Dec. 27 Game 1 – Michigan State vs. Western Michigan
Game 2 – Michigan vs. Michigan Tech
Dec.28 Game 3 – Consolation Game
Game 4 – Championship Game
Dec. 29 ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE DOUBLEHEADER
Game 5 – Windsor Spitfires vs. Saginaw Spirit
Game 6 – Plymouth Whalers vs. London Knights
Dec. 30 AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Game 7 – Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Toronto Marlies
Dec. 31 2013 MAPLE LEAFS vs. RED WINGS ALUMNI SHOWDOWN™
Game 8 – Maple Leafs Alumni vs. Red Wings Alumni (Game 1)
Game 9 – Maple Leafs Alumni vs. Red Wings Alumni (Game 2)