It’s official: Detroit, Toronto to play 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium

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The Winter Classic is coming to the Motor City.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the news official this morning at a press conference from Comerica Park, announcing that the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs would participate in the sixth-ever Winter Classic.

“Let me now make it official, the National Hockey League is proud to announce the Detroit Red Wings will host the 2013 Winter Classic,” Bettman said. “The Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013.

“It was the vision of Mike and Marian Ilitch that this Winter Classic be the biggest one ever. Since this outdoor matchup is so big, there is only one place where it could be played — The Big House at the University of Michigan.”

The 2013 Winter Classic will be played on arguably the grandest stage in league history. Michigan Stadium — aka The Big House — has a football capacity of 109, 901, but set a world hockey record at the 2010 Big Chill at the Big House with an announced attendance of 113,411. (Of note, the Guinness World Record counted tickets scanned rather than sold, putting the Big Chill attendance at 104,173.)

As for Comerica Park, it’ll be home to a number of events during the Winter Classic including AHL and OHL games, the alumni game and open skating throughout the weekend.

Here’s a picture of what the Comerica Park Field will look like, courtesy Yahoo’s Nick Cotsonika:

1lnhs.jpg

Of note, Bettman said events at Comerica Park will bring between 150,000-200,000 people to downtown Detroit during Winter Classic weekend.

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