Give Detroit Red Wings and NHL officials credit: they’re looking at utilizing both Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium for Winter Classic activities in 2013.
Though there’s a boatload of rumors floating around out there, we’re seeing some semblance of a plan for next year’s signature event for the NHL, which has grown past just a single game on an outdoor ice sheet to a multi-day activity that include college, alumni and high-school games.
The current tentative plan: both Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers, and Michigan Stadium will be outfitted with outdoor rinks. The Jan. 1 game would be played at Michigan Stadium, a venue where hockey has already been successfully played (in fact, Michigan and Michigan State drew 113,411 in 2010 at Michigan Stadium, the largest hockey crowd on record). To sweeten the deal, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be the visiting team, giving Leaf fans a chance to make the relatively easy five-hour drive to the stadium and giving the NHL another matchup of Original Six teams.
Many of the traditional supporting events would be played at Comerica Park, which also would be outfitted with an ice rink. There’s talk of moving the Great Lakes Invitational to the Detroit ballpark, and we’re guessing the traditional alumni game would be played there as well.
The plan keeps everyone happy. Mike Ilitch, who owns both the Red Wings and the Tigers, gets a draw at a facility normally dark this time of year. So does the University of Michigan. And the NHL gets a crack at setting the record for the largest crowd ever to see a hockey game.
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