Let's try this again, shall we?
2013 2014 Winter Classic is coming to the great state of Michigan.
In a press conference this morning at Joe Louis in Detroit featuring the best owner in pro sports, the league and the Wings announced that the 2014 Winter Classic will indeed be held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Next January 1st, myself, J.J., Graham and 115,000 of our friends (and some enemies) will be packed inside the Big House in Ann Arbor to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs take on our beloved Detroit Red Wings in the biggest hockey spectacle ever. The game should easily break the current hockey attendance record of 104,173 that was set by Michigan State and Michigan at The Big Chill at the Big House in December 2010.
The Winter Classic will be the first to feature a team from outside the United States. The Maple Leafs history with the Red Wings, large fan base in both Canada and the United States, plus Toronto's close proximity to Michigan without a doubt factored into the leagues decision to include them. The game will feature two die hard fan bases that will easily sellout the game. I can't wait to see the aerial shots of the stadium and seeing giant sections of red (and a little bit of blue). And! Michigan Stadium (and the entire U of M campus) does not allow the sale of alcohol, but part of the agreement between the university and the NHL is to allow the sale of alcohol at the game. So if the Winter Classic is anything like H2H2, you'll want to be around the WIIM gang.
Downtown Detroit won't be shutout from the event. To appease Red Wings owner Mike Illitch, who owns the Detroit Tigers and Comerica Park, for not having the outdoor game downtown and in his ballpark, the league will once again have alumni games, college games, OHL games, and sled hockey games. The Winter Classic Hockeyfest will also be held downtown.
The NHL and HBO will be teaming with the Wings and Leafs to produce another series of 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic. That means candid Mike Babcock and Pavel Datsyuk, and we if there's any justice in the world we'll get to see the Wings at a team dinner to see who actually likes Corona.
And we can't forget about the most exciting part of the entire event besides the actual game....the Alumni game! Rosters are likely going to be similar to what we saw last time, and it has been confirmed there will be 2 games since there are so many great players that are involved in the history of these franchises (and some of them even played for the Leafs!) Ken Holland said he's going to start to work on getting Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom back in Red Wing sweaters one more time.
The best part? This year we get to see the jerseys:
The ones that Kocur and Sittler are wearing will be the Alumni jerseys, while the ones the kids are wearing (and the one in the Wing jersey is Kris Draper's son) will be the actual game jerseys.
There's been no announcement on ticket availability or anything like that, but expect announcements very soon.