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.
If you go, stay warm
Next to finding parking, the biggest challenge for hockey fans will be staying warm. The high temperature on New Year's Day is only expected to reach 15 degrees.
The Emergency Center at Beaumont, Royal Oak offers the following tips for staying warm:
- Dress in multiple layers of clothing to trap warm air between layers. The less exposed skin the better.
- Always wear a hat. It helps to maintain body heat.
- Wear gloves or mittens. For those who tend to get cold hands, mittens are the best choice.
- Eat plenty of food and stay as active as possible.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Limit your alcoholic intake. Alcohol affects your circulation and ability to feel 'cold.'
- Be careful of things that restrict your circulation such as smoking, tight clothing and fatigue.
- Ask your doctor if medication you are taking can affect your circulation.
The chilling temperatures can be dangerous for people with heart disease. Breathing cold air stimulates reflexes in the body that can provoke angina, according to Beaumont. Those with heart disease should consider wearing a mask or scarf.
Need to know
- Game time: 1 p.m. at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor
- Parking lots open: 7 a.m. (See attached PDF for lot locations.)
- Gates open: 10 a.m.
- Bag check: There is a "no bag policy" at Michigan Stadium. Please leave purses and bags at home.
- Spectator Plaza: Enjoy live music, food, beverages and interactive hockey-themed attractions from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Watch on TV: The game will be televised on NBC.