The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/02/12 at 07:02 PM ET
ESPN’s Craig Custance breaks down ten potential Winter Classic destinations, and while the ESPN Insider blog is one of those things I can’t share in its entirety, here’s what he says about the #1 choice as of January 2nd, 2011:
The Detroit Red Wings have emerged as the lock to host the next Winter Classic but it’s certainly not from a lack of options. Every NHL team has expressed interest in either hosting or playing in the game and the interest extends beyond NHL cities.
“Every club has been in touch with the commish,” said NHL COO John Collins.“There have been a number of neutral sites, non-NHL markets who have proposed a vision for what they think the game could be. Right now our focus is on trying to maximize it for us, for our clubs.”
...1. Detroit—It’s been since 2009 that a Western Conference team has hosted the game, which makes the Red Wings a natural to host next season. The biggest decision left is the venue. The appeal of breaking attendance records and hosting an NHL game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor is a strong pull but Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch owns Comerica Park and is one of the strong proponents of promoting downtown Detroit. As we learned with re—alignment, Ilitch has a lot of pull in the league and Collins said the NHL works hard to accommodate the desires of the host team even though it’s a league event.
“We always work with the host club and listen to what they really want to accomplish with the event,” Collins said.“It’s become an important event for the community. It drives a lot of economic impact. You’re coming into someone’s home market. You want to be respectful with what they’re trying to accomplish.” Both the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs are interested in being Detroit’s opponent next year and the potential of drawing from the passionate Toronto fanbase, one that would surely travel en masse for this game, has to appeal to the league.
Continued (registration required, sorry)
>Update: USA Today’s Kevin Allen reports that Ilitch Holdings guru Tom Wilson is attending the game.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.