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  • Detroit, Toronto to compete in 2013 Winter Classic Print
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    Written by Denis Gorman   
    Thursday, 09 February 2012 13:06

    The Winter Classic has become such a success in other cities. Next year it will be Detroit's turn to host the outdoor event in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs

    The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in the 2013 Winter Classic, the NHL announced in a Thursday morning press conference at Comerica Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers.

    Detroit will be the sixth city to host a Winter Classic, joining Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Jan. 1, 2013 game will be the Red Wings’ second appearance in the outdoor extravaganza. Detroit defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 at Wrigley Field. The Maple Leafs will be the first Canadian team to compete in the Winter Classic.

    “Our fans love the Winter Classic, our teams love the Winter Classic, our players love the Winter Classic. Most importantly, our fans love the Winter Classic,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, who estimated that more than 115,000 fans will be in attendance. Michigan Stadium seats 109,901 for University of Michigan Wolverines football.

    “I suppose imagination is what brought us here today.”

    The sixth annual Winter Classic will be the second outdoor hockey game contested at Michigan Stadium. Michigan defeated Michigan State 5-0 on Dec. 11, 2010, a game titled The Big Chill at The Big House. The Guinness Book of World Records reported in Jan. 2011 that the attendance for that game was 104,173.

    “We are committed to make this the greatest Winter Classic ever,” said Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who also owns the Tigers. “I can promise you there will be something for everyone,”

    Ilitch described his vision for a “HockeyTown Winter Festival” which will include a Leafs-Red Wings Alumni Game that will be contested at Comerica Park.

    Bettman noted that as part of the festivities there will be high school, college, Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League games at Comerica Park.

    “We are thrilled that the NHL made the Detroit Red Wings the host of the Winter Classic,” added Chris Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings. "This is a great sports town.

    “The NHL in the Big House, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

    Detroit mayor Dave Bing, MLSE Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Anselmi, Leafs GM Brian Burke, Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, Hall of Famers Alex Delvecchio and Ted Lindsay and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr were among the dignitaries in attendance.

    “It is a real pleasure for me to be here. It is going to be a spectacular event,” Fehr said. “This looks like something (the players) will remember, their families will remember and the fans will remember for a long time.

    The Red Wings and Maple Leafs are two of the NHL’s Original Six franchises.

    In its 94th year of existence Toronto has a record of 2664-2553-783-92 and has won 13 Stanley Cup championships. In its 94 years of existence Detroit is 2699-2273-815-80 with 11 Cups.

    The rivals have played 644 times in the regular season with the Red Wings having earned one more point than Toronto in those games, 646-645. In head-to-head playoff matchups, Toronto leads the series, 12-11.

    “It will be a fun, fun event and let’s get at it,” Anselmi said.

    You can follow us on Twitter @HockeyPrimeTime and @DenisGorman 

    Comments (1)

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    I am sure this is going to be one event that the entire city of Detroit is going to be looking forward to. It is really cool that "as part of the festivities there will be high school, college, Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League games at Comerica Park" is happening and that they are going to be included in all of the excitement.

    Detroit is better known as Hockeytown either standard versus traditional and for them to get the Winter Festival in 2013 is really something that the fans will be happy about.

    David.L , February 10, 2012

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    Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2012 18:57