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Posted on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

It's official: Beer will be served at Michigan Stadium during 2013 Winter Classic

By Kellie Woodhouse

It's official: Red Wings and Maple Leafs fans can enjoy a beer at the 2013 Winter Classic.

Thumbnail image for Big_Chill_Crowd.jpg

The 2010 Big Chill at Michigan Stadium

Michigan Stadium is normally bone dry, with alcohol sale and consumption strictly forbidden. In fact, the University of Michigan bans purses from the stadium partly to dissuade fans from trying to sneak in liquor.

But for one day, beer will be on tap at stadium concessionaires. A bill allowing the National Hockey League to utilize a temporary 30-day liquor license for the Jan. 1, 2013, match passed the Michigan Senate Wednesday and the House of Representatives on May 24.

The U-M Board of Regents agreed in February to host the Winter Classic match between the Detroit and Toronto teams for a $3 million payment from the NHL. Regents also condoned the sale of alcohol at Michigan Stadium for the event.

“The fact that there will be liquor served is no problem whatsoever,” Regent S. Martin Taylor said in February. "This in a non-university event. We are truly just leasing the facilities.”

University officials say that this is a one-time allowance and that the athletic department has no intention of selling alcohol at U-M-sponsored athletic events. Officials originally intended to use one of 12 special one-day liquor licenses U-M is granted each year, but school officials discovered the temporary licenses aren't applicable to large crowds like the one expected at the Winter Classic. In response, state lawmakers proposed HB 5611.

The NHL is trying to break the world record for hockey attendance, which was set at the Big Chill in 2010 when U-M faced Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium to a crowd of 104,173.

U-M Athletic Director Dave Brandon said in February that securing a liquor license is key to hosting the event at Michigan Stadium. He suspects the event will bring more than $15 million in business to area hotels, restaurants and merchants.

"The NHL views it as an important element to the success of the event," said Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, who introduced the temporary liquor license bill in May. "From an economic development standpoint, the amount of people this will bring to southeastern Michigan for the events leading up to the game and the game is going to be a real boon to the area."

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Alcohol is intimately associated with violent behavior. Why not have a Medical Marijuana night instead? I guarantee no one would be fighting, and the hot dog vendors would make a fortune.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Ok, correcting a misspelled word here......I meant "anywhere". sometimes I type too fast and my fingers get tangled up. oops. oh well. the world's an imperfect place.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Will starting ticket prices at $89 help or hinder their goal of beating the previous attendance record?


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

The Alcoholic beverage industry has co-opted all our sports so fans now feel compelled to put up with this. You climb in bed with Budweiser and you never get out! I for one, will not attend; drinking & drunken "fans" put me off the whole thing! Oh, about DUI's; did you ever see the police issues tickets or make real arrests at any sport event in Ann Arbor. We only arrest little old ladies walk on Non-game days, otherwise the business of sports runs with impunity. The police direct traffic!

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 8:43 a.m.

I predict a lot of DUI's


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

I predict a lot of UFO's


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

And the UofM "rents out" the city as a theme park for yet another day. Sure it's a boon to the entertainment industry, but for many of the rest of us it will just be a nusiance.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Well Martha, why don't we by this house? It has a great view of the giant stadium across the street. What could go wrong.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

You too can rent the stadium for your: wedding, bar mitzvah or other event.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Would this be considered higher education?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

Some folks go through life a bit too angry to have a sense of humor


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Halter: This is a play on the word "higher," in this sense referring to intoxication. So the attendees will be "higher" because they will be drunk on crappy beer.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

They'll be learning the cold facts.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Halter, relax! Maybe you should have a few beers. I understand perfectly well, obviously you're way too uptight.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

WHich part of NOT A UNIVERSITY event do you not understand?....there won't be any students there, except for those who go with their parents who paid 270.00 a seat....

Bruce Kennedy

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

"Beer will be served at Michigan Stadium..." And many fans will be serving....jail sentences. Just kidding, that's a joke son, I said that's a joke!

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

Perhaps Toronto and Detroit can loan Ann Arbor a couple hundred police to help with the "afterglow". Note to self: Do not go anywhere near Ann Arbor that evening.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

Good point, Elaine. fortunately, I live on the west side of A2 so I'm at a fairly safe distance. Note to self: do not go anywhwer near downtown on certain evenings. stay home. read good book.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

@craigjjs-is that sarcasm or rhetorical?


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

How many hundred police were added at UM games every week last year, even the night game when drinking was non-stop from awakening to 8:00 pm.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

Cheers (in moderation) and GO BLUE!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

A slippery slope - on so many levels.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Before we know it, they will be feeding Christians to the lions at the Big House as we drink beer.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

I'm surprised there aren't over a 1000 votes on the poll already. Also surprised that there aren't at least 500 comments on this article. Nothing spurs citizen participation more on either side than when alcoholic beverages are the topic. I don't need alcohol to enhance any experience, perhaps least of all, athletic events. I for one can't imagine sitting in the open in Michigan Stadium on January 1st with a cold beer in my hand. Maybe a hot rum concoction or Irish coffee but certainly nothing chilled. As for the idea that beer drinking will "enhance" the rowdiness of the crowd: from actual experience at Lions games, I think that's a risk - one the NHL has no qualms about imposing on one and all patrons at that game. Still - it's a matter of choice, no one is forcing anyone to go to that event. So long as that's true, I say: each to his own and let the consequences fall where they belong.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

I of course won't be there but WHA HOOOO PARY ON !


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

So sad that officials think the only way they can draw a record crowd is to provide them beer (at inflated prices no doubt). It`s also sad that some sports fans think you can`t enjoy a three hour event without booze. But mostly sad because alcohol is held in such reverence when it`s more destruction to society than all the other "illegal" drugs combined.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

Too bad there's not a word for people who can't go three hours without alcohol.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Well said


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Oh give me a break...the license has nth to do with a revised crowd. Just another uninformed comment.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Oh come on...It would set a record regardless just figure $10 ( or whatever it is ) beers times a couple hundred thousand and it's not hard to figure out the reason

Top Cat

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Terminator Doppelbock!

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Hey, TC...maybe "tentappakegga?"(chuckle)

Ron Granger

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

We should have a contest to predict the absurd price they'll be charging.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

They said starting ticket prices will be $89.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

You used to be able to bring beer into the stadium during football games. Now you can't even bring in bottled water. Terrorists truly have won.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

How does the prohibition contribute to obscene profits? Are you referring to bars outside the stadium. Most drinking is tailgating and they bring their own.

Mike Musil

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

You used to be able to carry in a small cooler to an ordinary UM football game back in the day. I think the rule was no glass.

Ron Granger

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

It isn't about terrorists, it is about obscene profits.

Marcus Adams

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Big deal, this is not news but a foregone conclusion. Now real news would've been if the legislature voted down the law or Rick Snyder vetoed it. Everybody knows that U of M gets whatever they want.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

The game itself shouldn't be quite as big a problem as the night preceding it. I suspect that, with the influx of tens of thousands of hockey fans, Ann Arbor can expect perhaps the wildest New Year's Eve this city has ever seen.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

With the students gone, that might be a good thing, certainly a stimulus for the local businesses.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Why do we have yet a THIRD article on this same topic in as many weeks?? All it's doing is raising the same uninformed comments a third time... This event is NOT geared toward Ann Arborites nor UM. More chose to skip over the part of the press release from the NHL about ticket prices that indicated that there may not even be public tickets for sale after Red Wings and Maple Leafs season ticket holders sales. "Trying to set an attendance record" is misleading. It will not only set the record, it will anhiliate any previous attendance record. And still Ann Arborites can't wrap their minds around an event at Michigan Stadium that has nothing to do with them.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Third article and your same third post. It may come as a surprise, but there are Red Wings fans in and around Ann Arbor. Is MI football limited to Ann Arbor residents? This is going to be a very newsworthy event and it is entirely appropriate for to follow it.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

Very well stated, good job.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

New Year's Day in Ann Arbor means it doesn't require refridgeration.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

"Dave Brandon said...... He suspects the event will bring more than $15 million in business to area hotels, restaurants and merchants.' i always find such numbers curious and wonder how accurate they are. We of course all grab our calculators and start punching/crunching numbers.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

They sacrifice a hamster and examine its entrails.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Craig..again, you just go me laughing.I was just starting to get up and get my calculator.Then I read your second paragraph


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

You need beer to watch hockey because it is so boring.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

if hockey is so boring then don't watch it(duh!). not all of us think hockey is boring.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

To quote Rich Rod, "Get a life".


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

We need beer to read certain posts because they are so boring.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

So WHAT kind of beer? Guessing nothing 'local'?


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

LaBatt's? Coors Light? I thought you said "beer."

4 Fingers

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

..and you are both correct. Blue, Blue Light and Coor's Light. I have it on good authority...


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Coors Light is the 'Official' beer of the NHL. BLAH!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Guaranteed nothing local -- you can bet that the sponsor will be Labatt Blue, which is already their sponsor...

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

How about some Jolly Pumpkin or Wild Dog, or whatever else the local beers go by.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

"Michigan Stadium is normally bone dry, with (1.) alcohol sale and (2.) consumption strictly forbidden in the stadium. " part 1 is certainly correct. I haven't been to a game recently but part 2 was a bit like a 70 MPH speed limit in the past. Maybe its gotten tougher in recent times.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

hmm...this will be safe?