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Posted on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

Why Michigan Stadium for NHL hockey? Bigger is better, Mike Ilitch says

By Staff


Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch is pleased that Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium will be the site of outdoor hockey.

Associated Press

Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch would have liked the next NHL Winter Classic to be played in Detroit, but simple math overruled his heart.

Michigan Stadium, with the potential for a crowd of 115,000 spectators, makes more sense than Comerica Park, which holds 41,000.

"Comerica was first (choice)," Ilitch said in an article on after the NHL made the announcement of the Winter Classic at Michigan in a news conference at Comerica Park. "You feel that's your responsibility, that's where you should be. But when they posed the question — The Big House? — economics and what have you, it's going to help tremendously having it at The Big House.

"I was really worried about it but after I saw the layout ... I said, 'Well, the headquarters will be in Detroit.' There will be a lot of people coming in and that's what I want."

The Red Wings will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 in Michigan Stadium, and Comerica Park will play host to an outdoor version of the annual Great Lakes Invitational with Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Western Michigan. The rink at Comerica will be used for several other pro, high school and youth events in a two-week long winter festival.