The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/12/12 at 05:46 AM ET
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Arnold, despite the Red Wings’ management’s desire to host a Winter Classic at Comerica Park, if the NHL is to indeed award the event to the Detroit Red Wings, it plans on setting an attendance record at the 110,000+ capacity Michigan Stadium instead, and as such, the league’s working very hard to secure the use of the “Big House” next December and January:
Michigan Stadium is known for being the biggest college football venue in the land, playing to crowds of more than 110,000 every fall. But the 84-year-old stadium, affectionately referred to as The Big House, is also no stranger to outdoor hockey. And that’s got the NHL’s ears perked up. Multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports this week that the NHL is in advanced discussions with the University of Michigan about holding the 2013 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor.
One source, who spoke on a condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the matter, said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon wasn’t initially sold on the idea of the NHL hosting an outdoor game at Michigan Stadium. But over a matter of a couple of weeks, the source said “something happened to make it go from looking like it could happen to [a point where] it probably will.”
In a statement issued last week, Brandon said the NHL had approached him about the Winter Classic but that “there are a lot of complex circumstances that need to be ironed out before anything moves forward.” Brandon did not reply to e-mail messages Wednesday.
Athletic department spokesman Dave Ablauf said Wednesday that any confirmation of an agreement at this point would be “premature.” But reached by phone Wednesday by Yahoo! Sports, Ablauf said, “We’re listening.”
According to Sports Business Daily this week, “An NHL exec said that the league will make an announcement on next year’s [Winter Classic] ‘by the Jan. 29 NHL All-Star Game and that next year’s event will ‘break records.’”
The two teams being discussed most for the league’s annual outdoor are the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. One Michigan source said obstacles remaining include what the university’s financial take would be, as well as the issue of obtaining a waiver to sell beer at the event.
Continued, and the biggest bummer Arnold reveals is that the NHL has no intention to host a Great Lakes Invitational or any non-NHL event at the Big House as a lead-up to the much-reported Wings-Leafs game…
And again, I’m very curious as to whether Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s going to be willing to allow his team to “play nice” with an HBO 24/7 treatment.
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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.