February 8, 2012 - 3:01am
BY STEPHEN J. NESBITT
The University’s Board of Regents will vote tomorrow to approve the leasing of Michigan Stadium to host the 2013 NHL Winter Classic.
The regents will vote in a special meeting tomorrow at 10 a.m. in the Fleming Administration Building. A University source confirmed to the Daily that the event would involve leasing the stadium to the NHL, which would make it more likely that alcohol will be permitted to be sold inside Michigan Stadium.
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon announced early last month that the University and the NHL were in discussions, but no formal agreement had been reached.
“We have been approached by the NHL about utilizing our facility for the 2013 Winter Classic,” Brandon said in a Jan. 5 statement. “There are a lot of complex circumstances that need to be ironed out before anything moves forward. We will have more to say if/when something materializes.”
If approved, the game would likely feature the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1, 2013, which would be the first Winter Classic match-up that includes a team from Canada. It would also be the first Winter Classic held at a college stadium.
Michigan hosted a hockey game in Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11, 2010 — The Big Chill at the Big House — a 5-0 victory over Michigan State. Pending final approval, the Winter Classic would be the second outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium and would rival the Big Chill's world-record-setting attendance of 104,473.
The Sporting News' hockey analyst Bob McKenzie tweeted that the matchup would be made official on Thursday.
The Ontario Hockey League revealed a doubleheader match set for Dec. 31, 2012 last week, with early speculation being that the games would be held at Michigan Stadium as well. But Michigan dismissed those rumors and an OHL source told the Daily the games would likely be played instead at Comerica Park in Detroit.
—Editor in Chief Joseph Lichterman contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back to michigandaily.com for updates.