Winter Classic 2012 - Detroit Edition?

The Detroit Red Wings are in deep discussions with the NHL about hosting an outdoor game within the next two seasons.

According to MLive.com, the Red Wings expect to host the annual Winter Classic either next season or in 2013-14.

The Red Wings would prefer to have the game at Comerica Park, home of the Tigers, also owned by Mike Ilitch. But it might take place at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor due to its huge capacity.

The stadium hosted the "Big Chill at the Big House" on Dec. 11, 2010, attracting a world record announced crowd of 113,411 in the game between Michigan and Michigan State.

Detroit and New York are in line for the next two NHL outdoor games in the U.S.

Since the New York Rangers play in this season’s Winter Classic on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia against the Flyers, it stands to reason that Detroit would be the leading candidate to host next season’s game since the league is unlikely to have the same team (the Rangers) play in it two years in a row.

The Red Wings played in the 2009 Winter Classic at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, beating the Blackhawks 6-4.

A limited number of NHL cities in the U.S. can host these events due to climate. Buffalo, Chicago, Boston and Pittsburgh already have hosted outdoor games.

The Red Wings most likely opponents would most likely be an American team, although almost all Wings fans would love a shot at the Toronto Maple Leafs. Likely opponents might be the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues or the Chicago Blackhawks, although they already played each other in the 2009 Winter Classic.

Also, keep in mind that if Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference next year, they would likely play someone from their own conference.

Finally Detroit might get an NHL event! Who do you think should play and where?

Kyle Busch

8 Comments

George Prax's picture

Personally, I would love to see next year's Winter Classic in Minnesota, if they could find a venue. But Detroit I would be okay with.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

To be very honest, there is no TV market for a Minnesota Wild game. While they claim to be Hockeytown and not Detroit, the Winter Classic is geared towards teams with history (looking at all the ones in the past at least). So to have Minnesota wouldn't make sense for a national TV audience (I don't doubt they'd sell out the game though). Also, Detroit has fans around the league just like the Habs, so a national TV audience would be huge for a Wings Winter Classic game.

George Prax's picture

Minnesota has a history, even if it was with a different team. The Wild have a better fanbase than you're giving them credit for even if their attendance isn't the best in the league. I think with the right opponent (Detroit?) they can have a great Winter Classic and could help build a market that deserves a lot better.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I never said Minnesota didn't have a fan base. I said they would sell the game out for sure. I'm saying for a National audience they aren't the right draw. Even though it would be cool to see one in Minnesota, I don't think the league is remotely close to thinking about that. It seems that they are pushing for the Eastern Conference teams.

George Prax's picture

Honestly, I think that the event has become bigger than the teams playing in it. You don't need 2 A market teams to make for an entertaining and well-drawing game anymore, and Minnesota would be the perfect location to test a theory such as this, and if, like I said, you put an "A" team against them like Detroit, it can still be more than enough to draw a TV audience, and more importantly make new Wild fans.

Keep in mind also that the NHL doesn't run any games opposite to the Winter Classic and it's on a day where everyone's home.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

Fair enough, maybe it's because the league's recent trend of going through the same teams and not going with ones that haven't played yet. Like Philly and Pittsburgh both played two already. I could see Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo playing again as well. And the fact that the Leafs haven't had an outdoor game is mind boggling too, don't you think?

George Prax's picture

Well like you said there's a limited number of teams who can host these things. The Canadian teams have the Heritage classic, although I'm guessing they're not doing that this year. Leafs should be able to play that against the Sens or Canucks (or Jets) at some point since the Habs have gotten it twice.

Forget Columbus since they're in the shitter, and excluding the other two New York teams every possible team in the northern US will have played by the next one, and Minnesota is the northernmost American NHL city. They deserve it. If they can continue to play well this season especially.

That said, some of the more southern teams should get a chance to be the visiting team at some point. I'm looking at Tampa, St. Louis, Nashville, maybe Carolina, Dallas, especially Colorado, they have freaking snow in their name.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

Colorado would be cool, I bet if it's in Detroit it's St. Louis, I just have a feeling