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Posted on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5 p.m.

University of Michigan and NHL try again: 2014 Winter Classic planned for Michigan Stadium

By Kellie Woodhouse


A worker prepares ice for the Big Chill, held at Michigan Stadium in 2010.

Lon Horwedel |

A four-month lockout might have derailed plans to host the 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, but the University of Michigan and National Hockey League will try again for 2014.

During a public meeting Thursday, the U-M Board of Regents unanimously reaffirmed it's decision to allow the NHL to host the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium- this time on Jan. 1, 2014, with a rain date of Jan 2.

The school reaffirmed its previous contract with the NHL, which allows the league to lease Michigan Stadium for up to $3 million. The NHL will require use of the stadium from Dec. 1 until Jan. 2.

It's unclear if the university will have to seek another special liquor license in order for the NHL to serve alcohol at the stadium. Traditionally, serving alcohol at the stadium is prohibited, but through a strategically crafted bill, lawmakers offered a temporary liquor license for the one-day NHL event last year.

The 2013 Winter Classic was set to take place at the Big House on New Year's Day, but was cancelled because of a NHL lockout that shortened the 2012-13 season and ended on Jan. 6, five days after the game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs would have taken place.

City and school officials estimated that the event would have a $14 to $15 million impact on the area, with anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000 hotel nights booked by visitors.

The NHL is hoping that Michigan Stadium, with a capacity of more than 114,000, can facilitate the largest Winter Classic attendance in history. The world record for attendance at a hockey game is 104,173, a record set at the outdoor game between Michigan and Michigan State in 2010. The NHL also plans on breaking the Michigan Stadium attendance record of 114,804.

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



Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

Why was the Michigan jumbo scoreboard lit up last night ( Thursday ) about 9 pm

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

Hi zanzerbar- We can see the south scoreboard from our downtown office and it is on and off at all times throughout the week, my guess would be for various tests, smaller events, etc, etc. You may be able to get more infor from Rob Rademacher who is the Facilities and Operations AD at U-M: 734-647-9763

Rob MI

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

I anticipate this event will culminate with the reinstatement of the "outdoor GLI" at Comerica Park. Just as was the case last year, I won't be going to anything GLI-related if this comes to pass (and given the fact that the Illitch family will need to be placated because the Winter Classic isn't being played in any of their facilities, it probably will).


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

I could be wrong, but I think the 2 Attendance numbers cited are from 2 different counting systems. The Big Chill Number is the Guinness WR number of people with tickets that showed up but the Michigan Stadium Record is NCAA rules (anyone within the gates). Any idea how the NHL is going to count it?


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

NCAA rules are tickets sold PLUS who is within gates. In other words, OVERSTATED.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

I'll be there. It will be an awesome experience and a great event for the city of Ann Arbor.

Tom Perkins

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Awesome. My only complaint is that the Maple Leafs are sort of a snooze. I'd much rather see Montreal or Chicago in town.

Blue Marker

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

Tom, you're probably a bit young to remember the Wings and Leafs in the same division. It was one of the best rivalries in hockey.

Kyle Austin

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

I'm sure the university and the Ann Arbor business community is thrilled with Toronto being the other team, though. Huge fan base that won't mind making the trip from Toronto.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.



Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

Try a smile sometime.. They are great.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

If uom can lock the fieldhockey gates all winter, let's lock the gates for this abomination. No citizens on their walks, then none of their boisterous louts on our streets at all hours.