DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Nails were bitten to the quick all over Michigan a few months ago with anxious hockey fans waiting to see if the NHL lockout meant the end of the much-anticipated Winter Classic.
It was canceled, but not all is lost. The Toronto Sun is reporting Wednesday that the organizers are closing in on a plan for Winter Classic 2014, to be played New Year’s Day at the University of Michigan.
Like this year’s scrapped game, plans include a match-up between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
“The assumption by pretty much everybody with a pulse was that the Winter Classic plans would stay the same, just change the date by a year,” according to Brian Stubits, a blogger for CBS Sports.
And the details for the last event were pretty spectacular.
“This Winter Classic should be the biggest one ever because Detroit is Hockeytown,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last February when announcing the mega-plan.
In addition to the 120,000 people who would be able to see the game in Ann Arbor, the event was to encompass the city of Detroit as well, Bettman said. Downtown activites in and around Comerica Park tied to the Winter Classic were to include youth games, open skating, the Alumni Showdown Game and more.
It was expected to bring up to 200,000 people to downtown Detroit during the Winter Classic.
“There will be more opportunities than ever before for people to connect with Winter Classic,” Bettman said. “Our presence in Detroit will be unmistakeable.”
Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch echoed that sentiment at the time, saying he was “all fired up,” about the Winter Classic and its ability to bring a tremendous positive impact on metro Detroit.