How has “Hockeytown U.S.A.” never hosted a NHL Winter Classic? The Detroit Red Wings are one of the game’s most legendary brands and franchises. With the exception of the Montreal Canadiens, no team has a richer history and more iconic logo on their sweater.
Of course, Montreal hasn’t hosted the game either, but first things first. The Wings have the perfect venue with a track record of success for hosting outdoor hockey, exactly what the January 1 NHL event.
And that venue, Michigan Stadium, home of the Wolverines of college football, also recently got lights just in case the league wants to move the event to prime time.
Yes, the perfect scenario is right outside the Detroit suburbs. The Winter Classic is not like the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four where they book the location multiple years in advance. It’s only four years old and its future locations are very much up in the air.
So Detroit “you only get one shot! Do not miss your chance cuz opportunity comes once in a life time.”
Michigan Stadium hosted the Wolverines versus the Michigan State Spartans in the “Big Chill at the Big House” in college hockey last year. which drew a record 104,000 fans.
And that’s college hockey. The Wings could easily draw 115,000+! Just give them an oponent like the Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs. Another originial 6 team where hockey is a way of life would be required to fill seats.
None of their central division foes qualify. St. Louis isn’t successful enough, Nashville and Columbus are way too young and the Chicago Blackhawks were in the dark ages for too long.
You might first be inclined to have a 2009 Winter Classic rematch in Ann Arbor, but that’s a bad idea. The Hawks overrate themselves as a franchise; especially now since they won a cup and are selling out the joint. However, decades of horrible mismanagement and the dinosaur of disallowing home games on television has left them with a fan base pretty miniscule when compared to Detroit, Montreal and Toronto.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks