The National Hockey League will wipe the slate clean and try again with a Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Today, the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league will stage its premier annual outdoor event at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Jan. 1, 2014. The Toronto Maple Leafs will visit the Detroit Red Wings in a nationally televised game at The Big House. If all of this sounds familiar, well it should: this was the league's plan for a Winter Classic in 2013, but the lockout took the game away in late November.
The league also announced the Hockeytown Winter Festival, another event that was scrapped with the season and the Winter Classic. The festival will feature outdoor games for college, junior and alumni teams at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Alumni Showdown will take place at the home of the Detroit Tigers on Dec. 31, 2013. Finally, Bettman revealed that HBO will return to hockey in December, with 24/7: Maple Leafs-Red Wings, Road to the Winter Classic. The jersey for the game were also on display.
The Maple Leafs and the Red Wings, in fact, make more sense as the Winter Classic participants now than they did a year ago. The two teams will be together in a realigned division starting with the 2013-14 season. The 2014 event marks the sixth playing of the game. The event has been held in Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia before.