The year is almost over and to ring in 2014 the NHL will be taking over the Big House in Michigan for the Winter Classic. The game will take place on January 1, 2014 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings (Face-Off is scheduled for 1PM). The Winter Classic started in 2008 in Buffalo, NY; it was the NHL’s way of getting the game back to its roots. This year will be the first time a Canadian team will take part in the event.
Winter Classic History
- 2008: Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres, 2-1 (SO), Ralph Wilson Stadium, Attendance: 71,217
- 2009: Chicago, Illinois, Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 6-4, Wrigley Field, Attendance: 40,818
- 2010: Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins, 1-2 (OT), Fenway Park , Attendance: 38,112
- 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins,3-1, Heinz Field, Attendance: 68,111
- 2012, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, Citizens Bank Park, Attendance 49,967
Weather has proven to affect the game. In 2011 and 2012 the Winter Classic was delayed due to rain and other weather. Weather such as wind and sun glare may give an unfair advantage to one team. In that event the NHL can modify the third and overtime periods. If that happens, play is stopped at the midway point and teams switch directions. This option was exercised in 2008 and again in 2011.
This year’s Winter Classic will have two of the Original Six NHL teams taking part on it. . Michigan Stadium currently holds the world record for the highest attendance for a hockey game 104,073.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early to avoid anticipated heavy traffic and last-minute crowds at the gates, and to enjoy pregame festivities inside and around the stadium. Spectator Plaza, a free, interactive hockey and entertainment festival, opens to the public at 9:00 a.m. on game day, located just outside Crisler Center on the east side of Michigan Stadium. All gates to Michigan Stadium will open at 10:00 a.m. NHL.com
The NHL Winter Classic will be a part of the regular season schedule until at least 2021, as part of an agreement with NBC/NBC Sports.