(WXYZ) - It's official! The Detroit Red Wings will be playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in next year’s NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
"The Red Wings' tradition of excellence, Detroit's passion for hockey and the glorious history of the Maple Leafs create a Winter Classic scenario for the ages," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The meeting of these two 'Original Six' rivals, at this iconic venue, will lift this Winter Classic to incomparable heights. The demand to be there will be so great that this event could only be held at 'The Big House.'"
The announcement was made during two news conferences.
The first news conference was held at Comerica Park where the CoPa Tiger is all decked out in a big Red Wings jersey. Comerica will play host to the Hockeytown Winter Festival surrounding the Winter Classic.
As part of the Festival an ice rink will be placed on the field where a game featuring Red Wings and Maple Leaf alumni will be played. The game is being billed as the NHL Alumni Showdown.
The Comerica rink will also feature other games, including the Great Lakes Invitational. This will be the first time in its history that the annual collegiate competition will be played outdoors.
Youth, high school, AHL and OHL level competition will also be featured. It will also be available for open skating.
The second news conference was at Michigan Stadium where the Winter Classic is set to be held on January 1, 2013. The game will come just 3 days before the 76th anniversary of the first meeting between the Wings and the Leafs, and almost a year after the team's only meeting during the 2011-12 season.
It will be the 644th time the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs have met. In the history of the NHL the two teams are each other's second most common regular season opponents. The Maple Leafs have played only the Montreal Canadiens more often; the only team the Wings have faced more is the Chicago Blackhawks.
By playing at the Big House, the game is expected to set an all-time attendance record for a hockey game. More than 115,000 tickets are expected to be sold.
This will be the second time the Wings have played in the Winter Classic. Their first appearance was in 2009 when they played the Blackhawks at Wrigley Field.
We’re told the NHL will set ticket prices. Other details are expected to be released at a later date.
The game is expected to generate about $14 million dollars.
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