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Report: 2013 Winter Classic at The Big House is a done deal

Jan 18, 2012, 9:34 AM EDT

Michigan Stadium, The Big House Getty Images

According to a report from Ansar Khan of, the 2013 Winter Classic is all set to take place at Michigan Stadium.

Khan reports that the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will be set to take place on January 1, 2013 at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He reports that Wings owner Mike Ilitch wanted to do the game at Comerica Park in Detroit, but the chance to have over 110,000 pack the stadium for the outdoor event was too alluring for the league to turn down.

To make things more Detroit-centric, a second rink will be built at Comerica Park to host the Winter Classic alumni game and possibly the Great Lakes Invitational, an annual college hockey tournament, as well.

Khan reports that the announcement of the game will be made official in February after the Red Wings return home from a four-game road trip through Phoenix and Western Canada.

If the report is true, and there’s no reason to think it will be disproved, the league would be better off making the announcement sooner than later. This past Winter Classic wasn’t made official until the season began and many of the facets of the game were poorly kept secrets, a fact Gary Bettman acknowledged when the game was made official.

This would be the first time a Canadian team played in the Winter Classic and given Toronto’s relative proximity to Detroit and Ann Arbor, holding the game at The Big House makes a world of sense because Leafs fans will crash the border in droves to attend the game.

  1. abrienza428 - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Should be awesome. It will be great to see Babcock and company behind the scenes on 24/7, as well as the build up and pressure in Toronto for the game.

  2. miketoasty - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Although this is an original 6 match up, I don’t see the rivalry here? I mean you have two teams from different conferences that probably see each other maybe once or twice a year. I also don’t live anywhere near Detroit or Toronto so can someone from those area’s please inform me of whats going on between these two teams in the past couple years.

  3. lsxphotog - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Can we wait for a slightly more credible source to make this announcement?

  4. takingbovadasmoney - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM


    To any Wings fan over 30, and some under, this is a rivalry.

  5. michiganhockey11 - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Dave Brandon needs to get on that temporary liquor license.

  6. bcjim - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    My advice: Bring your biggest pair of binoculars if you are fool enough to attend.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      True. When I first saw this I thought about how awesome it would be to go, but between CBC and NBC and a 50 inch TV I think I’d be better off staying at home.

  7. xxshookonexx - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Count me as one who rather watch it on my big screen than at the big house …..unless the seats were really good. The seats in that pic at the top of page look awful.

    • xxshookonexx - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      also, looks like the alumni game would be infinitely more interesting than the game itself. Wendel Clark, Andreychuk, Doug Gilmore, Larionov, Federov, Hasek, Draper

  8. oscojoe - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Great location wrong opponet, Should be Detroit vs. Boston. Toronto should play in the heritage classic against another Canadian Team.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      Nah. Should be Wings-Hawks.

      • bensawesomeness - Jan 18, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        I’d pay for Wings- Sharks, but it just makes sense, Toronto’s like 4 minutes away

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:33 PM

        Actually it makes sense because it’s an Original Six rivalry. Boston makes sense too but they’ve been in one already. I think popular opinion is that other teams should be involved, and lots of people in Canada want to see Canadian teams in it.

      • drewsylvania - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        Love the Original Six dowthumbs.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      I don’t have anything against the Canadian/American matchup but considering the NHL’s first thought is to generate revenue, I don’t necessarily see this as the most popular matchup. As takingbovadasmoney said, there is history from prior to the realignment to the current setup, but wouldn’t your first thought as an NHL executive be to make it Vancouver/Boston? Imagine the ratings the 24/7 series would get!

      You’d think they’d try and capitalize on that before it fizzles out.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        True, but which NHL team generates the most revenue?

  9. murraychadwick - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    To: bcjim

    That picture doesn’t even come close to how close you actually are at the Big House. I go to many Michigan football games and for a stadium that holds that many people you are suprisingly close. In fact the best seats in the house are towards the top. It will be a good venue for the Classic.

  10. barkar942 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    The NHL is waiting for Jim Cantore to confirm the upcoming New Years Day snow storm for the perfect outdoor game!

  11. buffalomafia - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    It will be another historic game!

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