All but finalized: Wings v. Leafs at Big House (GLI Final at CoPa?)

Submitted by MGoBender on January 13th, 2012 at 2:29 PM…


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 Friday.

Also, there's talk of holding the GLI final in Comerica Park:

The annual Great Lakes Invitational, a college tournament that features Michigan State, Michigan and other top college invitees, is among the events being considered for the downtown rink. That tournament is usually held at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings' permanent home, in late December.




January 13th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

The NHL's trying to make outdoor hockey on NYD a new tradition. It's their big  event that attempts to capture media and public attention and remind people about hockey as football season winds down. They've got a reserved slot on NBC for these games.

That said, this year would have been the year to do it in the Big House. Put it up against the NFL games rather than the bowl games.


January 13th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

Hey, I agree. But the NHL has obviously identified NYD as the day to do this thing (the same way that the NBA has Christmas to remind people of the existence of a league that's been playing for a couple months by that point). There's also a TV issue. The following weekend, NBC has the two NFL wild card games on the Saturday (though I guess they could squeeze the "Winter Classic" in before those, as the Saturday games seem to be on a 4 and 8 schedule). But it probably involves a lot of the same broadcast infrastructure (trucks, outdoor cameras, etc.) NBC rarely has to broadcast more than 2 outdoor sporting events per weekend (ND football and the sunday night NFL game), who knows how much extra stuff they actually have.

I do think it's telling that the rise of the Winter Classic coincides with the movement of a number of the major bowl games away from NYD. 


January 13th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Too bad they'll have the game on a day when I definitely won't watch it.  No way can I go to it.  Toronto could realistically attract enough fans to fill up half the stadium though.


January 13th, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

Comerica Park was built with that opening in the upper deck down the right field line so that the Eastbound breeze could flow through the park and cool everybody. This is great in the summer as a blessed reprieve from the sweltering heat of a Michigan August and Justin Verlander's fastball.

However I've been there in late October and in November for a concert and lemme tell you: it's COOOOOLLLLD. Whereas MIchigan Stadium is a dug-out bowl (and the person sitting beside you is close enough to share body warmth).

And besides, ever notice that the first real snow doesn't arrive here until January? December may get 12 inches but Michigan Decembers are a slush-fest washed away occasionally by those cold dark rains that come at 4pm when the sun is already down.

It sounds nice because outdoor hockey is cool, but a GLI in Comeria Park would be downright miserable.


January 13th, 2012 at 4:41 PM ^

I go to Michigan Stadium to watch UM events.  I go to Detroit to watch Detroit events.   Plus, the outfield in Comerica would provide a great backdrop to the event.

Also, if UM is in a NYD bowl game, won't Brandon and most of the athletic dept be at the bowl game?


January 14th, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

They also talked on the radio about having the NHL alumni game at Comercia potentially, even as a sideshow to the GLI, so it would basically be a Hockeyfest up and down I-94 that weekend. 

It might be just me, but I can't help but have reservations about the Winter Classic being in Ann Arbor only because Illitch fought hard to get it and then the league chooses a venue simply for the potential for money and an attendance record. It seems like a slap in the face to Detroit businesses too that are  trying to make things right in the city.