The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/24/14 at 07:57 PM ET
Shocking news regarding what was most certainly the biggest hockey game ever held, from Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika:
The league sold 105,491 tickets for the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings on New Year’s Day – enough to break the record of 104,173, set when Michigan State played Michigan at the Big House in 2010.
The stands were essentially full. But the margin was thin, and the NHL announced only the number of tickets sold because it could not complete an accurate count. Cold, snowy weather made traveling treacherous. Fans were still entering the stadium as late as the second period. Ticket-takers stopped scanning stubs.
The NHL had to agree to a preapproved accounting method with Guinness, and it chose a barcoded ticketing system. Guinness had an official adjudicator on site, Alex Angert, who said he could count only fans whose tickets were scanned, plus media and officials who came only to watch the game.
The league still seemed to have a shot afterward. At the “Big Chill at the Big House” in 2010, Michigan announced a crowd of 113,411 – even though Guinness was on site and certified only 85,451 at the time mainly because ticket scanners froze in the cold. About a month later, after analyzing photos of the stands, Guinness certified the attendance at 104,073. It now lists it at 104,173.
Officially, the league hasn’t given up hope.
“They said it was going to take a while,” said NHL chief operating officer John Collins. “We haven’t heard that it’s not the record. We just haven’t heard anything.”
Guinness officials could not be reached for comment Friday night. But the source said privately the league had let it go.
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