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The Malik Report

Winter Classic between Red Wings, Leafs all but confirmed

As the Chief already noted, our friends in Toronto are corroborating the massive Detroit press push suggesting that the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will hold a Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and if you don’t believe Pension Plan Puppets’ news, the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts (via RedWingsFeed) is also stating that the deal is done…

This slipped under the radar thanks to the sound and fury about the poll that said Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is overrated and the Mike Cammalleri trade, but it looks like the Leafs will play the Detroit Red Wings in next year’s NHL Winter Classic.

However, the game will not be held in Toronto but in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it is expected a world record for attendance at a hockey game will be set at Michigan Stadium. The stadium already holds the record, as 104,173 fans attended an outdoor game in 2010 between the University of Michigan and Michigan State. The plan is to configure the stadium capacity to 115,000 for the NHL’s outdoor game.

Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, who is also chasing a Winter Classic for Toronto along with the NHL all-star game and the entry draft, said in an e-mail message the Leafs have not received any invitation to the Winter Classic – yet. But the word around the NHL is the league is committed to seeing the Leafs and Wings meet in next year’s outdoor game.

And ESPN’s Scott Burnside says that the NHL is giving the Red Wings’ owners an olive branch for not having the game at Comerica Park by holding a Great Lakes Invitational and possibly other events in Detroit

The NHL has all but finalized details to hold next year’s Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, while continuing negotiations for a second outdoor rink in downtown Detroit where all ancillary events would be held, a source told ESPN.com Friday. The league would like to have the matter settled by the All-Star break in late January, according to the source.

The Jan. 1 game between the Original Six rivals would be played at the University of Michigan’s “Big House,” which, at 110,000-plus seats, is the largest college football stadium in the country. Ann Arbor is about 43 miles west of Detroit.

But cognizant of the need to include the City of Detroit in the process, the league would like to build a second outdoor rink in downtown Detroit, probably at Comerica Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers.

The negotiations between the league, the City of Ann Arbor and the Red Wings are not completed. There is a definite sensitivity to making sure Detroit isn’t left out in the cold, as it were, given the long-time loyalty shown the beleaguered city by the Ilitch family, which owns both the Red Wings and Tigers.The source also said next year’s Winter Classic will include new events that also would be held in downtown Detroit.

This year’s Winter Classic at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park featured an alumni game that drew 45,000 fans. An American Hockey League game also was sold out at the ballpark, although ticket sales for those two games were bundled with the sale of tickets to the main Winter Classic game.

The ice surface at Citizens Bank Park also was used for other hockey and public skating events over the New Year’s holiday. A similar plan is being considered for Detroit, given the NHL’s desire to market the event as a celebration of the sport.

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Comments

Red Winger's avatar

As storied as these two franchises are, as great a history both clubs share, the 2013 WC will go down as one the greatest events in both clubs’ histories when the final chapter is written.

110,000 tickets? They could sell double that amount, no problem.

You’re going to need to know someone to get a ticket to this monster.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 01/13/12 at 05:00 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The ice surface at Citizens Bank Park also was used for other hockey and public skating events over the New Year’s holiday. A similar plan is being considered for Detroit, given the NHL’s desire to market the event as a celebration of the sport.

And not just the GLI, NBCSN also has the Friday Night Ice collegiate hockey program (of which I’m becoming a serious fan) that could tie in with the whole weekend.

Friday Night Ice.
GLI.
Winter Classic Alumni Game.
Winter Classic.

Still a possibility, IMO.  More content could include the US National Hockey Development Program in Ann Arbor; the highly-anticipated prospects camp in Traverse City; the Little Caesar’s youth hockey program in and around Metro Detroit; etc. because I can’t think of anymore great things that can come out of this for the sport of hockey at all levels of competition.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 01/13/12 at 05:01 PM ET

rrasco's avatar

There will be a huge demand, but there is no doubt you will be able to pick up tickets on stub hub.  I’ve never officially seen any WC tickets on sale anywhere but SH.  The only issue will be, how much?

Posted by rrasco from TEXAS on 01/13/12 at 05:09 PM ET

Avatar

If there is a second rink, would love to see a Whalers vs. Spitfires game outdoors!

Posted by Keith from Redford on 01/13/12 at 05:09 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by rrasco from TEXAS on 01/13/12 at 03:09 PM ET

Absolutely, SH always comes through in a pinch. But how much are you willing to pay?

In the day of SH, saying anything is a “sellout” is never correct anymore. But in the technical sense, demand will push SH prices through the roof.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 01/13/12 at 05:14 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

If there is a second rink, would love to see a Whalers vs. Spitfires game outdoors!

Whalers v Spirit would be interesting too for an “in Michigan” game, but wouldn’t draw the same.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/13/12 at 05:21 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

How cool would this be?  An Original Six Winter Classic Tournament.

The teams would be seeded according to their position in the standings at the start of the tourney.  The first and second place teams, according to standings, would meet the winners of the lower seeded games.

The 5th and 6th place teams would play the first game on Monday, the winner to meet the 1st place team on Wednesday.

The 3rd and 4th place teams would play the second game on Tuesday, the winners to meet the 2nd place team on Thursday.

The winners of the Wednesday and Thursday games would then play for the Winter Classic Championship on Saturday.

I haven’t delved deep enough into how this would fit into an 82 game schedule.  I just think it’s a cool idea.

Of course the Wings will win every year.

The following would be according to the standings as of today.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 01/13/12 at 06:10 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from Lidstrom’s head telling him 1 more year on 01/13/12 at 04:10 PM ET

I like it.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 01/13/12 at 07:26 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

This actually sounds like a very good idea, and a great compromise on the part of the nhl. I’m genuinely surprised that they’re doing something right.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 01/13/12 at 09:05 PM ET

Avatar

For what it’s worth, I checked four Canadian hockey sites tonight: TSN, CBC, The Hockey News, and Faceoff.com. None of them have the Winter Classic rumor of Toronto-Detroit, let alone any Winter Classic 2013 story links on the front page. Curious.

Posted by Bugsy on 01/14/12 at 12:18 AM ET

Avatar

That pile of shit espn. Since when did the nhl control the gli? They’re putting it forth as if the nhl controls college hockey. Last I checked, this was not the case.

Posted by teldar on 01/14/12 at 12:32 AM ET

Avatar

They’re putting it forth as if the nhl controls college hockey.

No they aren’t.  If the NHL pays to have an ice surface put in at Comerica then they have a say in who is going to be able to use it.

Posted by Garth on 01/14/12 at 03:20 PM ET

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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.