Blog Entry

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:33 am

By Brian Stubits

Last year it seemed pretty clear that the Rangers would be playing the Flyers well in advance of the NHL's September announcement for the Winter Classic. The host, at least, seems even more inevitable for 2013.

In perhaps the lock of the century, you can feel safe in expecting that the game will be held in Michigan. Other than who would the Detroit Red Wings play is the all-important question of where would the game be played? Many think that Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers and owned by Wings owner Mike Illitch, would be the site because of the Illitch connection.

But the Big House in Ann Arbor -- the University of Michigan's football stadium -- is in play. That's no longer just speculation.

"We have been approached by the NHL about utilizing our facility for the 2013 Winter Classic," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement. "There are a lot of complex circumstances that need to be ironed out before anything moves forward. We will have more to say if/when something materializes."

Well that's a start. It means that the idea certainly isn't out of play. Of those complex circumstances to sort out would likely be how revenue is split and, all importantly, whose pizza will be sold? Illitch is behind the Little Caesar's brand while Brandon used to be chairman and CEO of Domino's.

Hosting an outdoor hockey game at the Big House would be nothing new. Back in 2010 the school suited up the stadium for a hockey game between the Wolverines and Spartans of Michigan State. More than 109,000 fans were in attendance to see the Wolverines win 5-0.

It would give the NHL a crowd number they would never seen again and, being that it's Michigan, weather likely wouldn't be a concern at all.

Here's my question with the Big House, though: People share their worries about the idea for the Winter Classic losing its appeal, having the novelty wear off. Well would playing a game at a stadium where its already been played before contribute to a "been there, done that" burnout?

It's likely going to come down to those two sites, so which would you rather see?

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:23 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Opponent - Dallas in North Stars throw-backs.

Since: Apr 23, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:57 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

The sightlines would be fine at the Big House  Since its an open bowl, there would be no obstructive views.  One of the really nice things is the Big House just put in MASSIVE HD screens on both ends of the stadium.  But from talking people who were at the MI/MSU game in 2010 game there, seeing the game was not a problem.

The key is for the Wings to get a team like the Habs or Leafs.  I think the Leafs would be great since they are an old rival and both teams will bring a ton of people to A2.  I know the NHL will probably want the Pens to play the Wings since it doesnt seem they can go a year without Crosby playing in this game, but it would be much better for either Habs or Leafs to come and play the Wings.   I dont know what the Leaf's old jersey logo was, but how sweet would it be to see vintage Leaf and Wings jerseys for this game.

Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:52 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Chicago and Detroit already played each other ina classic  they would have to pick another team , maybe the Blues ... doubt it would be toronto or montreal seems the NHL only wants U.S. teams involved in this game although Montreal  or Toronto would be a good choice , because the Wings would beat them up  lol

Since: Nov 7, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:50 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Any outdoor opponent would be a good one for the Red Wings.  I wasn't aware that the hosting team could choose their opponent for the Winter Classic, but if they can, the Leafs do seem like the obvious choice.  Here's an idea... have the team that won the classic the previous season be allowed to participate in it again the following season as the visiting team... a sort of passing of the torch as it were. 

Cozy Comerica Park would make a more intimate setting than the University of Michigan's field, if number of attendees wasn't of overriding concern.  Can't wait to see the venue when it is chosen!

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:42 am

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

hockey town against The State of Hockey, minnesota wild, could be great..!!

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:29 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Love to see it at the Big House and it would and should be vs the Leafs !

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2012 2:09 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

The best part about a large outdoor arena would be the "cheap seats".  This is an opportunity for fans with lesser means to be able to watch a live NHL hockey game, which they may otherwise never be able to.  Least wise I'm assuming there would be cheap seats in the nose bleed section.

So, the answer to the question would the novelty wear off? Definitely, no.  It's a winner as long as you always keep the games where relatively large numbers of fans can attend...and as long as you can sell the tickets, I say keep on keeping on! 

Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2012 11:29 am

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Has someone fro Michigan who has been to some of the games played at U of M tell me what the sight-lines were like? I've been to a few football games there and the stadium seems very wide and shallow so I'm wondering if people would be willing to pay several hundred dollars for a seat where you can barely see the play.

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2012 7:38 am

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

Having the Winter Classic at "The Big House" would be a helluva choice! The Red Wings being one of the two teams participating is a "no brainer"! As far as the other team involved,it would be either Montreal,Boston,or Chicago....with Chicago being the obvious choice due to the rivalry that the Red Wings and BlackHawks have. We can call it "The I-94 Showdown!".CoolSmileSmile

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:42 pm

Michigan contacted about Big House Winter Classic

...OK..As  a huge Maple Leafs fan...I HONESTLY and personally have been suggesting this ever since the "Winter Classic" began. It was all just a dream until U-m played MSU last year, and that was a huge success. With the fan bases of BOTH of these cannot watch nightly hi-lites of a road game for EITHER of these teams, and not be witness to MANY fans in the stands as visitors!!!  Via Rail ( Canada's Passenger Train Company) could fill hundreds of train cars for the people from all over Ontario coming to see this epic...the financial shot in the arm for Windsor & Detroit would be as big as  any Super Bowl that has been held in a former season ticket holder for Michigan football..there  is no better place in the USA to spend a weekend than Ann Arbor..there are, as I see it-no negatives to this proposal.. I hope the NHL takes this idea seriously..if they do, they can count on me for at least 8 tickets!!!, and I'm just one fan..IMAGINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  \

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