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Report: Red Wings trying to call dibs on hosting next Winter Classic

Dec 1, 2011, 8:02 AM EDT

Michigan Stadium Getty Images

While we’re focused on this year’s Winter Classic, the debate as to who will play in and host the next one is waiting to be had. The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to settle that debate before it even begins in earnest.

Ansar Khan of Mlive.com reports that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch is in talks with the league to try and host the Winter Classic in either 2013 or 2014. Working in Detroit’s favor here is that there are a couple of places they could host the event. The NHL could either keep the event in downtown Detroit and play at Comerica Park, home of baseball’s Tigers, or head out to Ann Arbor and play at Michigan Stadium and make a run at breaking attendance records at the 110,000+ seat stadium.

Having it at Comerica Park is what the Wings owner prefers and that’s thanks to him also being owner of the Tigers. Keeping that money earned from the event in house is nice to do. The spectacle that could be had at Michigan Stadium, depending on who the Red Wings’ opponent was, could be too alluring for the NHL to avoid.

With Detroit and New York as the next two logical cities to host the Winter Classic and New York being in this year’s game, Detroit seems all too logical to be the next city to host the game. We’re a long way off from getting that figured out, but Detroit trying to make a claim now makes all too much sense.

  1. cmutimmah - Dec 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Playing at The Big House (UofM) would be awesome. I’m not a Wolverine fan by any means, and you wouldn’t be able to see crap as a fan, but it would be pretty cool. Also, the seating at Comerica Park wouldn’t allow for much better viewing of the game… so either way the fans attending the game wouldn’t be able to see well…

    I always wanted to attend one of these, putting it in my back yard would definitely make me buy a ticket.

    • abrienza428 - Dec 1, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      Yeah, this is simple. Detroit vs. Toronto in Ann Arbor would fill up easily. Do it.

      • danphipps01 - Dec 1, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        Oh man, where do I sign? That would be awesome.

      • habssux69 - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:23 PM

        The NHL has already said they want to keep the winter classic an American hockey tradition, Canada already has their out door game, so any Canadian Hockey in the winter classic doesn’t sound like its going to happen for a while

    • hystoracle - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      Playing in the Big House would be awesome.. they could couple it up with a Univ of Michigan college hockey game. Maybe Michigan v. Wisconsin or Minnesota.. Can’t have too much hockey!

  2. jrmehle - Dec 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Detroit’s had their Winter Classic already. It’s time to look elsewhere.

    Minnesota is the perfect place to hold an outdoor game. There will be no worry about it being too warm in January. There are two brand new venues to host it at in TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field. The hockey fanbase large and rabid.

    The Wild have been holding down the top of the standings lately and show no sign of letting up. The team is finally starting to get notice around the league. There are some star players like Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley to focus on and characters like Cal Clutterbuck to make it interesting. Mike Yeo is quite the character as well and would be as entertaining or more than Bruce Boudreau on the HBO series. The arrival of Mikael Granlund next year would also be an interesting story to key on.

    A Wild/Stars, Wild/Canucks, or Wild/Oilers matchup would be ideal. The NHL has only ever had 1 Western Conference matchup in the Winter Classic and it’s time to get some new faces in the game.

    • Chris - Dec 1, 2011 at 3:57 PM

      Sorry to burst your bubble but no one gives a crap about the Wild. Maybe you do and that’s fine, but the purpose of the Winter Ice Classic is to showcase the league on a national level. This is why you see a lot of the same teams getting it, while others have no shot.

      I am all for the Classic coming to the D, I am just across the water in Canada and would love to attend this event!

      • docktorellis - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:29 PM

        I’m all for the classic in Detroit, but Chris I couldn’t disagree more with your assessment of the Wild. All of jrmehle’s points about the fanbase and venues are accurate, not to mention that the Wild’s region is not simply Minnesota, but MN, Iowa, and the Dakotas (and much of Wisconsin, though I think some of that fanbase turned their attention to other NHL teams (Detroit) or to Badgers hockey during the long dark unmentionable years between the North Stars and the Wild’s arrival. A Winter Classic in either TCF or Target Field would be incredible.

  3. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 1, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    I get Detroit is an original six team with more Stanley Cups and blah blah blah. Damn the NHL always have to cater to them? My goodness, they want to go east, they probably are. Haven’t they already participated in one against Chicago?

    Next years game needs to be Dallas at Minnesota at Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium. Wild wear the old school North Star jerseys with the N and * logo. Dallas should wear old Stars jersey with the big staff in the middle when they first moved to Dallas.

    • greynraney - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      As a Stars fan I would love to see them play a WC and playing the Wild makes perfect sense, but the NHL would never go for it. Which Stars sweater has a “big staff in the middle?”

  4. oquintero - Dec 1, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Would love Minny as the next Winter Classic. They deserve to host it.

    • polegojim - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:26 PM

      Minnesota can’t even sell out a Vikings game…or even enough tickets to avoid being blacked out.

      Why do you think they would do justice to a Winter Classic hockey game?

      • docktorellis - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:31 PM

        That’s because the vikings are terrible. You do realize that the Wild have enjoyed a sellout streak that ranks among the top in the nhl in recent years, right?

      • polegojim - Dec 2, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        Actually no, I did not. Still unconvinced they would draw enough for a Winter Classic.

        Maybe they’ll get a chance to prove me wrong…. which I’ll be the first to admit.

  5. polegojim - Dec 1, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Always cater to Detroit??? Not. You’re missing the point and facts.

    They listen to Detroit, because Detroit produces maximum revenues and draws fans and viewers like no other team in the NHL right now, save maybe Pit and Chicago.

    The game is not about ‘fairness’ and taking turns on a kiddie merry-go-round…it’s about financial success and viewers. Detroit gives them that.

    Dallas fans watching a ‘winter classic’? NOT, that would be a bust. It’s a financially failing franchise.
    Minnesota and Edmonton are no where near the market of a Detroit, Montreal, NY, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Toronto.

    Red Wings v Bruins or Pens or BHawks, or Habs would be top billing. Rangers are in it this year, and Toronto… well… keep getting better boys.

  6. mrwaffles116 - Dec 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    If it’s Detroit, put it in Ann Arbor and play the Blue Jackets! It would be part 2 of the UM- OSU rivalry, and I’m sure it could draw a crowd!

    • Chris - Dec 1, 2011 at 4:00 PM

      As a Detroit fan I would be so ticked off if I had to watch another Detroit vs Columbus game….give me a real opponent please

  7. illbringdabeers - Dec 1, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    I would like to see the next Winter Classic be in Denver and Mile High. Avs. vs. The Canucks or Kings or another Western Team. The East has had it to much and I think Mile High would be an ideal location

    • whipplesan - Dec 1, 2011 at 4:23 PM

      Although it would be great, I think the weather’s far too variably warm in Denver to host.

    • polegojim - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      And right now… who wants to watch the Avs anymore… even on TV?

      Fix the coaching and team first. THEN try the big stage.

  8. itsallniceonice - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    While 24/7 is still going strong they really need Bos vs. Mtl. The biggest and baddest NHL rivalry needs to be shown!

  9. govtminion - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Oh come on, what do the Lightning have to do to get some attention for hosting this thing? This thing is rigged! ;)

    I’d LOVE to see the game at Sports Authority Field in Denver, but I’m kind of a homer like that. I really would, above humor aside, like to see some of these warmer-weather teams like Tampa, Phoenix, San Jose, etc. start getting a chance to be in this too though- if they can’t host it (obviously), send them up to places like Minnesota, Vancouver, Detroit, etc. that CAN, and share the love a little. So far we haven’t had a warm-weather team take part at all.

    • polegojim - Dec 1, 2011 at 6:29 PM

      No draw for warm weather teams. Most can’t even fill their own stadiums for home games.

  10. brucewaynewins - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    If you want to fill the Big House you either need the Blue Jackets to try and play off the OSU Michigan rivalry or find the team who provides the next best traveling fan base and most US tv ratings after Detroit.

    I’m guessing the traveling fan base is Toronto, Montreal, or Boston?

    I’m guessing tv ratings is probably Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Boston?

    So the only one of those six in both categories if I’m right and I didn’t fact check so I may be wrong, is Boston.

    That said I’d rather see Detroit vs LA, Detroit vs Anaheim, or Detroit vs San Jose.

    • whipplesan - Dec 1, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      Going with the comment earlier, no DET fan would give a rats-anus about the Blue Jackets coming to town – they already do 4 times a year.

      Detroit vs. SJ would be awesome, or Detroit/Vancouver

  11. nhlbruins90 - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Detroit is fine. It’s plenty cold and if you can break that attendance record, so much the better. It’ll be a fun event. And I agree, a Minny Classic would not be a bad idea.

    But I say it’s time to get the LA Kings into the mix. And since the Classic is all about getting the best ratings (the cold, hard facts folks), let’s get the B’s back for another go at it. I see a Boston LA match-up at Gillette Stadium. Of course, the Patriots might be playing a game that week, so it all has to be hashed out, but … that’s the best way to get a west coast team in it and still produce some ratings.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 1, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      Also a good plan. California hockey’s actually grown into a fairly productive business. The Kings are one of the more productive teams financially. Why not A) reward them for it, and B) potentially draw more revenue for your trouble? Good idea, that is. Plus, B’s/Kings would be a pretty sweet matchup.

  12. cliverush - Dec 1, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Here is an off the wall idea. Give the west coast fans a chance at this venue by having a game between the Ducks and the Sharks. The site could be around the Lake Tahoe area. I suggest they play on the natural ice surface of the lake. Build temporary stands on a slope overlooking the lake. I know it sounds crazy but the Casinos could help with the construction and logistics.

    • nhlbruins90 - Dec 1, 2011 at 10:41 PM

      They tell the teams to ‘think out of the box’ with their proposals (apparently), so that’s not crazy. Probably won’t happen, but it’s not crazy.

    • whipplesan - Dec 2, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      I LOVE this idea. This gives a pleasant mental image. However farfetched, considering the environmental issues surrounding the lake these days.

  13. comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    Gee. What a surprise. Detroit campaigning for something.

  14. quizguy66 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Give it to Columbus or Nashville since Detroit’s whining led to the realignment that is less than the ideal for these teams :)

    -QG

  15. devilsfan3332 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    What you all seem to forget is that Ann Arbor is not Detroit and from my understanding if you host the Winter Classic,it has to be in the city in which the team plays.If my understanding is correct that eliminates Michigan Stadium and leaves only Comerica.Here is an list of some of the past Winter Classic
    host cities

    Citizens Bank Park,Philadelphia, Heinz Field,Pittsburgh,Fenway Park,Boston Wrigley Field Chicago, Ralph Wilson Stadium,Buffalo

    The one thread that binds all the Winter Classic venues together,and something Mike Ilitch seems to forget,is that all previous Winter Classic venues are in the cities that the team play in

  16. blkeskimo1785 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Avs fan voting for the Winter Classic in Detroit next year.

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