NEW YORK/DETROIT (April 7, 2013) – The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 1, when the Detroit Red Wings® will play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs® at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus, the National Hockey League announced today. It is anticipated that the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® could set a world record for attendance at a hockey game. Nicknamed The Big House®, Michigan Stadium is the largest of its kind in North America. The game will be broadcast live on NBC in the U.S. and on CBC and RDS in Canada. SiriusXM Radio will provide live radio coverage.
"The history of the teams' cross-border rivalry, the nobility of The Big House and the growing tradition of the NHL Winter Classic will raise the anticipation for this event to new heights," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We are delighted to offer our fans a spectacle at which the energy will be unmatched and the demand for tickets will be unprecedented. For anyone involved in any way -- as a player, a coach, an official, a fan -- this NHL Winter Classic will be a truly memorable hockey moment."
In partnership with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, downtown Detroit is expected to host more than 250,000 visitors at the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™, an outdoor celebration of hockey held at Comerica Park beginning in mid-December.
"In addition to representing a dramatic new step in the evolution of the NHL Winter Classic, the Hockeytown Winter Festival reflects the love Mike and Marian Ilitch have for the City of Detroit and its hockey fans," Commissioner Bettman added. "The scheduled activities will bring tens of thousands of fans downtown to connect with the NHL Winter Classic excitement, to enjoy the Festival experience and to share their passion for the sport."
The centerpiece of the Festival will be an outdoor rink placed on the infield of the ballpark that will feature games between teams representing every level of hockey and opportunities for open skating for the public. The showcase events at the Festival promise to be the two games featuring notable alumni of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs – the 2014 Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs Alumni Showdown™ – on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31. In total, the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ is expected to feature youth games, high school hockey games, sled hockey games, AHL games, OHL games, the Great Lakes Invitational and more.
The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues the tradition the NHL® has established of hosting a regular-season game outdoors at the onset of the new year to celebrate the origin and history of hockey. A world record crowd for an ice hockey game could attend the 2014 event, surpassing the 104,173 people attending the game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium in 2010.
Bridgestone, the Official Tire of the NHL and the NHLPA, returns as title sponsor of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for the fifth consecutive game.
Two members of the NHL’s Original Six™, Detroit and Toronto are longtime rivals. The organizations first played each other on Jan. 4, 1927 when the Toronto St. Patricks defeated the Detroit Cougars 2-1 in a game near Detroit. Under the approved realignment for the 2013-14 NHL season, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs once again will compete in the same division.
Not only is the Detroit-Toronto hockey rivalry a storied one, it is a competitive one. All-time during the regular season, Detroit (275-273-93-3) has captured 646 points against Toronto, holding an advantage by the slimmest of margins over Toronto’s 645 (276-275-93-0) against Detroit. Additionally, the 117 playoff games between the franchises is the second most in NHL® history (170, Boston vs. Montreal).
For the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will wear specially-designed uniforms inspired by the early years of each franchise.
The Red Wings will wear iconic red and antique white uniforms featuring a striping pattern and arch Detroit wordmark inspired by the late-1920s Detroit Cougars™. The front crest is an early iteration of the winged wheel from the late 1930s, featuring a novelty felt appliqué with a distinct chain stitch embroidery.
The Maple Leafs will wear a royal blue and white unique uniform design and distinct striping configuration inspired by the Leafs circa the 1930s, a time when the franchise won its first Stanley Cup®. The front crest is a felt appliqué with a very distinct wordmark from the inaugural Maple Leafs logo, revealed in 1927.
The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® jerseys, along with other event merchandise, will arrive in stores as early as today. Alumni players in the two games at Comerica Park also will sport special uniforms.
Further details on the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, including ticketing information for each team, will be released shortly. Fans interested in purchasing tickets for any of the events associated with the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ should register to receive more information at either www.detroitredwings.com/2014nhlwinterclassic or www.mapleleafs.com/nhlwinterclassic.
Official fan packages for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® are now available from Global Event Forum, the Official NHL Events Fan Package Partner. For more information please visit http://www.globaleventforum.com/nhl/winter-classic
NHL.com will provide extensive digital video coverage and NHL Social will have exclusive coverage on all social platforms, including the use of the hashtag #WinterClassic. NHL Network™ once again will provide hours of coverage live from Hockeytown in the days leading up to and after the game.
Five of the six most watched regular-season NHL games in the U.S. in the past 37 years have been played outdoors. The 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® in Pittsburgh on NBC aired in primetime and was the most-watched NHL regular season game in the U.S. with an average of 4.5 million viewers. The event also drew the largest audience on CBC for any of the U.S.-based outdoor NHL games.
For the most recent iteration in Philadelphia, both the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® between the Philadelphia Flyers® and New York Rangers® and the alumni game two days prior attracted sellout crowds. More than 75,000 fans visited Spectator Plaza, the official outdoor hockey festival adjacent to the ballpark.
The first-ever NHL regular-season game contested outdoors was played in 2003 when the Edmonton Oilers® hosted the Montreal Canadiens® at Commonwealth Stadium. The first New Year’s Day outdoor game in the U.S. featured the Buffalo Sabres® hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins® at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008. In 2009, the Chicago Blackhawks® hosted the Red Wings at Wrigley Field. In 2010, the Boston Bruins® hosted the Flyers at Fenway Park. In 2011, the Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals® at Heinz Field. In 2012, the Flyers hosted the Rangers at Citizens Bank Park. In February 2011, the Calgary Flames® hosted the Canadiens in the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage ™ at McMahon Stadium.