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’14 Winter Classic: Scenes from the Big House

Dec 31, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT

The Big House is, for lack of a more eloquent adjective, big. And as Brough mentioned yesterday, it’s pretty cold here in Ann Arbor.

Big and cold were two of the major themes on Monday as workers continued to prep for what promises to be a world-record crowd to watch a hockey game when the Maple Leafs and Red Wings meet tomorrow, New Year’s Day, in the 2014 Winter Classic.

We thought it’d be neat to give PHT readers at look at the Big House prior to tomorrow’s event. Y’know, capture the essence of the thing.

With pictures…

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Brough said this might be the best picture I’ve ever taken, on account of 1) me being pretty terrible at taking pictures and 2) it being taken on the worst mobile phone known to mankind. So I guess yeah, it’s a good picture. The only thing it fails to capture is the temperature which, at the time of writing, was 16 degrees Fahrenheit, minus-9 Celsius for our Canadian readership. It’s cold, man. And according to this, it could get even colder.

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This is the cushion responsible for the well-being of over 100,000 derrieres on Wednesday. Godspeed, cushion.

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So, I really got into seat cushions during my photographic journey. There are some more abstract/avante garde ones that didn’t make the cut, but will be available on PHT: Art Haus (launch date TBD).

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Here be the rink. If you happen to be in one of the lower seats in Section 8 (which is where this was taken from), congrats — you’ve got pretty good sightlines for the Classic. Oh, those guys on the ice? They were partaking in the media hockey game, which was not the fittest moment in the history of athletics.

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Had to throw this in as a PSA — be on the lookout for counterfeit Winter Classic swag!

“Consumers generally assume they’re buying authentic NHL merchandise to support their favorite team, only to learn later they’ve obtained counterfeit merchandise of inferior quality,” the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos said in a release last Thursday. “When you take into account the capacity of Michigan Stadium (north of 100,000) and the caliber of the Detroit and Toronto fan bases, the NHL is expecting this year’s Winter Classic to break the all-time event attendance record, which means the 2014 NHL Winter Classic is ripe for counterfeiters.”

So yeah, don’t buy shady gear. If Datsyuk is spelled with a six, you’ve bought shady gear. Don’t do that.

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Ice-making refrigeration truck featuring Dion Phaneuf, who can now afford many, many of these trucks.

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This is one of the main entrances to the fan plaza. I have a feeling that sedan won’t be there for the Winter Classic, but you never know. Cherry parking spots like that don’t come around very often.

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Thought this was pretty cool — the target practice event is an old-beat up stackable washer/dryer. Anyone that’s played linoleum basement hockey as a kid knows this is a surefire way to hone your wrister, then get grounded for a week.

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Just a quick glance into the media workroom at the U of M’s Junge Center. There are fax machines and copiers and TVs and everything. Not pictured: Me, abusing the seemingly limitless coffee supply. “So wait, this is free? And you just keep refilling it?” /loads up thermos

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At some point the weather became too intolerable and I needed to get inside, so I opened the first door I saw… and ended up inside Crisler Arena, home of Wolverines basketball. I should note the weather isn’t actually that cold — it’s cold and all, but I’m from Vancouver, which is basically the L.A. of Canada, except with rain instead of sun.

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Just one day away now. Should be cool.

Fin.

  1. joey4id - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Great pics for the less fortunate to see. Always enjoy pictures from behind the scenes.

  2. sportsinhd - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    There’s some great bootleg swag in the Detroit area, and they usually spell things right (though I once ended up with a Black Sabbath shirt with the name “Tony Tommi”). For ten bucks a t-shirt versus twenty-five those bootleg shirts are a steal, and are often better looking than the real thing. Just wait until the game is over, then they’ll be five bucks!

  3. polegojim - Dec 31, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Thank you thank you thank you Mike – wonderful atmosphere and snapshots.

    You’re obviously much more in the spirit of things than Jason’s start!!!

    Keep drinking the black human antifreeze.

  4. viewsfromseat13 - Dec 31, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Well hope to run into you Mike! I will be taking pictures for a vendor in Spectator Plaza and then attending the game!

  5. mshantz22 - Dec 31, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    So weird seeing Michigan Stadium all set up with non-Michigan Wolverines logos.

  6. jimeejohnson - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Always a great day to drink beer, but whiskey might be the order of the day. Used to drink good old blackberry brandy from a bota bag on frozen lakes and creeks. Those were the days.

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