|The Big House |
It can hold an astounding 110,000-plus spectators, and in 2010 at the Big Chill – an outdoor hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State – a world record 113, 411 (later certified at 104,173) fans packed the House.
After the rumors began to swirl a month ago, the NHL confirmed Thursday that the 2013 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will be held at the Big House.
University of Michigan grad and Bruins forward Steven Kampfer, never got a chance to skate at the Big House, but he anticipates a great atmosphere in Ann Arbor.
“It’s probably the loudest [college] atmosphere going,” Kampfers said, who played for the Wolverines from 2006-10. “I think the University of Michigan’s chants for goals and penalties and stuff like that – it’s a pretty rough setting to come into if you don’t know about it.
“I think having it in Michigan, it’s definitely the place to have it and I think Michigan will do a top notch job of setting it up.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said there will be 115,000 tickets on sale, so a sellout would shatter the record.
Kampfer said it will be difficult to do that, but he wouldn’t rule it out as impossible.
“I think it will be tough, but with Toronto and Detroit being so close it might help out,” Kampfer said. “It’s a city that loves hockey and it’s a city that loves its football, so I think when you put the two together and have it at the Big House it’s going to get a big crowd.”
Wishful thinking by many New Englanders figured the Bruins would be playing in next year’s Winter Classic, and even Kampfer jabbed at the possibility.
“I figured [since] it was 'Original Six' and I figured they would have looked and saw Timmy [Thomas] and I being Boston-Michigan guys that they’d want to bring it back,” Kampfer joked.
But regardless, the Ann Arbor native is confident Detroit and Toronto, who have played 644 games against each other, will put on a great show.
“It’s good, I think both teams will do a great job at it,” Kampfer said.--- Anthony Gulizia