The National Hockey League is set to make an official announcement on Thursday that the Detroit Red Wings will host the 2013 Winter Classic, which will pit the home team against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and numerous representatives from both teams are expected to be on hand for the announcement.
The announcement will be made in two parts, the first being made at Comerica Park at 10:30am et and the second part taking place at Michigan Stadium at 1:15pm et.
This year, the Winter Classic will be the end of a week-long celebration of the game.
Comerica Park in downtown Detroit will be the hub of activity in the week after Christmas, where there will be a series of outdoor games and events.
Some of the events of note are:
-All four NCAA college games as part of the Great Lakes Invitational tournament that usually runs each year out of Joe Louis Arena.
- An AHL regular season game featuring the Toronto Marlies vs. the Grand Rapid Griffins.
- Two regular season OHL games on the same day, a junior doubleheader, with tentative plans calling for the Plymouth Whalers to play the London Knights and the Saginaw Spirit to play the Windsor Spitfires.
- There will also be high school games, youth hockey games, with the showpiece game at Comerica being the Alumni or Legends game featuring Red Wing and Leaf oldtimers/alumni.
The only event that will be played at The Big House (University of Michigan) will be the actual NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1, 2013.
Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have hosted the Winter Classic in the past, though the crowd for a Michigan Stadium game would likely be the biggest.
Michigan and Michigan State attracted a record 104,173 fans for an outdoor game on Dec. 11, 2010.