According to a report from Ansar Khan of Mlive.com, 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.