The National Hockey League officially announced on Thursday that the Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Winter Classic.
The Winter Classic game itself will be played on January 1, 2013, in Ann Arbor’s 109,901-seat Michigan Stadium. The current world record for attendance of a hockey game was set there on December 11, 2010, when the University of Michigan hosted Michigan State University in front of 104,073 fans.
Comerica Park in Detroit – home of the Detroit Tigers – will host several events leading up to the Winter Classic on a second outdoor rink. The Detroit portion of the event will be called the Hockeytown Winter Festival.
The annual Great Lakes Invitational – usually played at Joe Louis Arena between Christmas and New Year’s – be played outdoors in its entirety. The 2012 edition of the GLI will feature Michigan Technological University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Western Michigan University.
Two Ontario Hockey League games are expected to be played, tentatively seeing the Plymouth Whalers hosting the London Knights and the Windsor Spitfires hosting the Saginaw Spirit.
The American Hockey League affiliates of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs – the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies – will meet in an outdoor matchup in Detroit.
The Comerica Park finale will be a matchup between alumni teams from the Red Wings and Maple Leafs on New Year’s Eve, dubbed the Hockeytown Alumni Showdown.
It will be the second time the Red Wings are involved in a Winter Classic. They earned a 6-4 victory in the 2009 event, hosted by the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field.