The NFL Sked ---> Det/A2 2012 NHL Winter Classic Speculation

Submitted by MGoShoe on April 20th, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Sean Leahy of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy reviewed the just released NFL schedule to determine which potential NHL Winter Classic sites would be open on New Year's Day 2012.

Here's what he found:

We know that the NHL needs at least seven days to prepare the venue and build the rink. That immediately knocks out places such as the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and Wysh's dream, Lambeau Field in Wisconsin, as those venues are hosting NFL games on Jan. 1.

Yankee Stadium, once again, is out because they will be in Year 2 of their four-year agreement to host the Pinstripe Bowl. You would think when New York hosts a Winter Classic either Yankee Stadium or potentially New Meadowlands would be the venue. CitiField in Queens doesn't have the marketability of a Yankee Stadium or the 80,000-plus seating capacity.

That leaves venues like "The Big House" and Spartan Stadium in Michigan, Beaver Stadium at Penn State and Soldier Field in Chicago among the favorites for the 2012 Winter Classic in our eyes. The college regular season ends in late-November, giving the NHL adequate time to prepare the stadium and get the rink setup and the Chicago Bears play in Minnesota on Jan. 1, leaving the possibility of the Blackhawks being involved in another outdoor game.

The Red Wings' Hockeytown Blog takes this thought one step further:

With Pittsburgh and Washington having played in the game in 2011, one must imagine that Heinz Field, FedEx Field, and Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley would be out of the mix. Chicago’s Soldier Field is not being used, but with Wrigley Field hosting the game in 2009, it would be hard to expect such a quick return.

Of course, we’re simply speculating, but between Michigan Stadium, Comerica Park, an original six club, and a strong DMA TV market, the idea of spending the start of 2012 outdoors isn’t too far fetched.

In my mind, the fact that Pittsburgh played in this year's Winter Classic doesn't knock out Beaver Stadium because there's still the Philadelphia Flyers to consider. That said, here's hoping that the Red Wings get the nod to host the event and that U-M and the NHL come to an agreement to use Michigan Stadium. If they do, I assume they'll develop contingency plans for battery depleted ticket reading machines this time.



April 20th, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

This is an interesting one. Would DB actually be willing to part with the world record for the Red Wings? I know it would be a huge windfall for the AD during a period where nothing is going on, and we'll have HD boards by then, so I think this would be an emphatic yes. 

And I would definitely support it.


April 20th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Perhaps Brandon could agree to host the event but stipulate that the Guinness officials not be invited. You can't have an official Guinness world record unless the Guinness people are there to adjudicate it.

But I agree with jmblue--if the Red Wings are going to host an outdoor game it should be in Hockeytown itself--at Comerica Park.

Cock D

April 20th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

... is hard to see unless the other half is Pittsburgh (who played last year), Buffalo or an NY team.   But I really don't see them doing Beaver Stadium unless the Penguins are involved.


April 20th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

I can't see Ilitch sharing revenue with Michigan when he can use Comerica Park and keep the concessions and parking for himself, even with the additional 60,000 available seats. It would be cool though.

deshawn swimms

April 20th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

What exactly are the rules on selling beer with college athletics?

I don't think it is just NCAA events because they sell beer at the Joe when we play hockey there (at least at the CCHA tourny), but then they did not sell any at the frozen four.

Do schools hosting just get to choose?


April 20th, 2011 at 2:49 PM ^

NCAA events only refers to postseason competition that is hosted/ran by the NCAA.

I've never formally seen a rule against it, but it is at least universally frowned upon to sell alcohol at on-campus venues (except maybe up in the suites), which would be the real obstruction. I'm not even sure there is a rule on the books anywhere, because Minnesota legislature is looking into allowing alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium for a second time (during the stadium's construction, they decided that just allowing alcohol sales in just the suites wasn't fair, and the University had to choose between alcohol for all, or alcohol for none. They chose alcohol for none).

Mr Mackey

April 20th, 2011 at 1:33 PM ^

I'd love it to be at the Big House. It'd be a great thing for Michigan and the Red WIngs. It'd be a lot of fun to go to, but I'm busy that day. I'll be watching the Wolverines play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1


April 20th, 2011 at 1:48 PM ^

I think it would be cool. I just wish we could postpone 3 more years so it would fit under DB's schedule of having Michigan play an outdoor game at the big house every 4 seasons. It would be amazing to have the wings play on one night and Michigan on the other. If the Wings play at the big house I want to play either Leafs, Boston, or the Rangers. Perhaps Carl would be getting regular call ups the rangers by then. 


April 20th, 2011 at 1:50 PM ^

The Red Wings have already said they don't want to participate in 2012, but would consider in subsequent years.  Assuming that holds true, you could do a 2013 Winter Classic in Detroit at Comerica Park or the Big House versus Colorado.  Colorado has a bunch of young talent, and though they probably won't be winning the President's Trophy in 2 years, I would wager that they'll be a mid-range playoff team.  That would be two good markets and two big rivals.

This year, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Flyers vs. the Rangers.  I really wish this event wasn't limited to US teams though.  It technically isn't, but for all intents and purposes, NBC wants to reach US markets.  After all the events that transpired this year, a Montreal vs. Boston game would be fantastic! 

Mr Mackey

April 20th, 2011 at 2:30 PM ^

Not too big of rivals anymore. If you go back 10 years, that would be an absolutely amazing Winter Classic. But most of the players of that rivalry, with the exception of Draper, Holmstrom, Lidstrom, and semi-Osgood, are gone. I'd rather face off against the Blackhawks or Penguins. Those seem to be our bigger rivals at the moment. 

But for the WInter Classic, I'd probably prefer an Original Six team. So not the penguins


April 20th, 2011 at 5:37 PM ^

I  am with you, except I would rather play a Canadian team. It is about time there is a Winter Classic/Heritage classic hybrid. Canucks, Leafs, Flames, Habs, Sens are all more attractive than the Pens and Hawks. If not Canadian go with the Rangers or Bruins. I could see a game in the bay area between the Sharks and either the Kings or Ducks. 


April 20th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

I'm with you as far wanting to see Detroit vs. the Pens or Hawks, but I think the NHL will try to branch out as far as they can.  You're obviously limited to having at least one cold weather team, and preferably one with a large market.  Their rivals also tend to be cold weather teams, and so you have quite a bit of overlap.  For this reason, I think the NHL will try to expand the scope of teams involved, and I think Colorado would be a reasonable choice to play Detroit.  I think it would be a hard fought game (where nothing would get out of hand) that would represent the league well and would hit two pretty large markets. 


April 20th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

I don't think an outdoor hockey game in California is going to happen...but lets look at some other possibilities, I think the Winter Classic at Invesco Field or Coors say Avs vs Kings or maybe even Avs vs Wings is a legit possibility as it would help eliminate the notion of the event being an East Coast thing as well as showcasing two talented teams. Gary Bettman said that he anticipates a Winter Classic in Washington D.C. within the next 2-3 years and you can't ignore the Bettman is an idiot factor. But I think the favorite is still The Big House because it proved that it could bring in 100,000+ for a hockey game and I've heard rumors that DB wants to do the event every two years. Plus Wings vs Maple Leafs would be a sick matchup. 

All Aboard

April 20th, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

Canadian teams will never be involved in the Winter Classic. NBC has no affiliate in Canada and does not want to sell the rights to any Canadian channels due to their significantly lower population. Canadian teams have the Heritage Classic, Americans have the Winter Classic. Avs aren't good enough to host the WC, maybe in the future.


And people are joking about the California thing, dude.

All Aboard

April 20th, 2011 at 7:31 PM ^

You don't just "let" things like that happen. Copyrights and MONEY prevent things like that from happening. And what does Windsor have to do with it? I'm pretty sure NBC already sells their rights to CBC for the WC, but they're much better off and more likely to make more $ if two American teams are involved.