Comments from Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon over the weekend seemed to suggest that everybody should pump their brakes a bit on all of the talk about the 2013 Winter Classic coming to the Big House. Brandon suggested that while talks were continuing, there were some issues that needed to be solved before a finalized agreement could proceed.
Apparently all of the complications have been worked out in a matter of days, because MLive's Ansar Khan is reporting that the deal to bring the 2013 Winter Classic featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs to Michigan Stadium has been finalized. In fact, Khan has already heard details about when the announcement will take place (early February after the Red Wings return from a road trip). Here are more details:
The long-rumored matchup between the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will take place on Jan. 1, 2013. The Red Wings lobbied to have the game at Comerica Park, but the NHL couldn’t pass up an opportunity to hold this annual outdoor spectacle at "The Big House," where it is expected to attract a record crowd in excess of 110,000.
To appease Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, a rink will be constructed at Comerica Park. The home of the Detroit Tigers will host other events leading up to the Winter Classic, including the alumni game and possibly the Great Lakes Invitational.
I know many are upset that the Winter Classic probably won't actually be played in Detroit, but this seems like the best compromise. You knew the NHL wasn't going to pass on a chance to potentially set an attendance record, even if it means the game will be played in Ann Arbor rather than the Motor City. At least having a second rink set up in Detroit will allow for some events to take place at Comerica Park so the city isn't completely left out of the picture.