When the Detroit Red Wings meet the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 at the Big House in Ann Arbor for the NHL Winter Classic, the matchup could break a Guinness World Record as the most-attended hockey game ever. (The current record was set at the stadium in 2010 when 104,173 attended a Michigan State-Michigan hockey game.)
This is the second appearance for Detroit in the Winter Classic, which began in Buffalo in 2008. The Wings played the Chicago Black Hawks at Wrigley Field in Chicago in front of 40,818 fans in 2009. The result was a 6-4 win for Detroit.
"The whole concept behind the outdoor games is that it is how a lot of us learned to skate, outside on ice. We recreated that and set up a small rink that we put little kids on. We are getting the people that are coming to tailgate, like at a football game. We have a spectator plaza that introduces fans to our partners’ products," Don Renzulli, NHL executive vice president of events, told Time.
The event is more of a spectacle than just a regular game, according to Renzulli.
"If you are not a big fan, we get you happy by seeing a band or listening to music," he said.
Leading up to the Winter Classic will be the Alumni Showdown doubleheader at Comerica Park. The puck drops on the first game at 1 p.m., and the second game starts at 3:30 p.m.
If you go, stay warmThe biggest challenge for hockey fans will be staying warm. The high temperature on New Year's Eve is expected to be 22 degrees, and on New Year's Day, it is only expected to reach 15 degrees.
Dr. Emmanuel Dizon of the Henry Ford Medical Center East Jefferson Clinic states that is "really" important to stay warm in the cold weather and being "properly clothed" is the best protection.
- Fingertips, toes, ears and the top of the head are areas that tend to be exposed to the elements and predisposed to frostbite. He recommends wearing a hat, mitten or well insulated gloves,
- Wear boots, which keep feet warmer than shoes
- Layers of clothing with long underwear.
- Don't drink alcohol or smoke.
- Avoid contact with water and metal because they conduct heat and could lead to frostbite
If you start feeling numb, he recommends heading back inside to warm up, he said.
Patch editor Judy Davids contributed to this report.