Although several reports have indicated that the 2013 Winter Classic is essentially a lock to be played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, they might be a bit premature. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said this past weekend that Michigan and the NHL are talking, but nothing has been agreed to yet.
"We’re still having conversations, and we’ll see if we can work something out. But it’s still a work in progress."
That is a stark contrast to reports suggesting the deal is in place. While it's entirely possible the Winter Classic will ultimately be played in the Big House, there are several obstacles that the NHL and Michigan need to get around right now. From Brandon:
"They play on Jan. 1st. It’s a holiday. It’s long after our stadium is closed up. Everybody is out of town, and in fact I hope a lot of people are at a bowl game and watching our football team. So there’s a lot of complications as it relates to that."
What's more, there is the issue of alcohol being sold. Currently, Michigan Stadium does not have a liquor license, so the NHL and Michigan would likely have to get around that before any deal is agreed to.
One other thing Brandon said that was interesting is that this would completely be the NHL's event even if it is played in Michigan Stadium. Brandon shut down the idea of Michigan having another game in the Big House to go along with the Winter Classic. He said that if Michigan were to hold another outdoor hockey game in the Big House, it would be on their terms, not the NHL's. Chances are another game will happen at some point in the future, but it won't be next season in conjunction with the Winter Classic.