Having coached the University of Michigan men’s hockey team for 28 years, Red Berenson knows a thing or two about how the game should be played.
As for where it should be played, Berenson says there’s no better venue than Michigan Stadium.
“I can’t imagine a better place to play an outdoor game,” Berenson told the New York Times. “If you want the impact of a record-breaking crowd, and in a facility that is located in a pretty central location — you know it’s pretty easy to get to Detroit. It’s already worked here.
“We had that ice in, and it fit. It had great sight lines, and everything was perfect.”
Berenson was asked about The Big House prior to tomorrow’s press conference, where it’s expected the NHL will announce the 2013 Winter Classic will be played at Michigan Stadium between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Berenson was intimately involved in another huge hockey game played there — 2010’s “Big Chill at the Big House” between the Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans — which drew a world attendance record for a hockey game: 113,411.
Berenson remembers the game with fondness.
“We got the ice in early so the whole community could use it,” said Berenson. “We had high school games and midget games and every kind of game you could think of, plus public skating opportunities every afternoon and every night. For the public, so many people were down here, you never saw so many cameras and photo opportunities for people that maybe otherwise don’t even skate.
“They just had to come down and skate on this ice.”