DETROIT - To me, the obvious location for having a NHL Winter Classic game in the Detroit area is right downtown at Comerica Park.
But the rumor is the NHL is eyeing a game at Michigan Stadium between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.
This came as a bit of a surprise to me. I didn't think it made much sense to have the Detroit Red Wings not play in Detroit unless there was not a great venue like Comerica.
Getting fans downtown for another sporting event is always a positive for any city. Detroit, of course, can use the extra traffic as much as the next city. Having the Detroit skyline as a backdrop for a Red Wings game would be nothing short of awesome. Fans could get downtown early, get some food, and stay late at the restaurants and casinos. Our Canadian neighbors could skip over the bridge or through the tunnel. Windsor would benefit, too. A drive out to Ann Arbor is that much longer.
What, exactly, makes the Big House a better venue for an outdoor NHL game?
I've heard the attendance argument: A bigger venue would mean getting more people to the game and a chance to set an attendance record.
Sure, the Big House did a fine job of hosting the Michigan and Michigan State outdoor game. Fans flooded the stands and there were rave reviews of being part of the largest hockey crowd to date.
But, as a Red Wings and hockey fan at heart, those factors still don't have me sold on putting the game outside of Detroit.
As I write this, reports are out that the University of Michigan is working to lock up the game at the Big House.
I consider this a huge loss for the city of Detroit and many Red Wings fans who, I think, share my point of view. When it comes down to it, the Red Wings are a Detroit icon. Not an Ann Arbor icon.
This being said, a Winter Classic in Michigan, anywhere, is long overdo. I would rather have it in Ann Arbor than nowhere at all.
What do you think? Comerica or Big House?
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