It has been nine years since the Michigan hockey team met their counterparts in East Lansing in the “Cold War,” pinning both teams outdoors, under the lights of Spartan Stadium.

But the long-awaited “Cold War II” matchup, this time at Michigan Stadium, is expected to be officially announced “in the coming days,” according to an Athletic Department official, who wished to remain anonymous because an official announcement has yet to be made.

With the two teams scheduled to meet next season on Dec. 10 and 11, the outdoor game is widely believed to take place on Dec. 11.

Athletic Department spokesman Bruce Madej declined to confirm the announcement.

“Details still need to be worked out before any official announcement can be made,” Madej said tonight.

When the two teams faced off in 2001, a crowd of 74,554 — the world record for a hockey game — gathered for the game. Michigan State, the top-ranked team in the nation at the time, was trailing with 47 seconds remaining, when Spartan Jim Slater scored to end the game in a 3-3 tie.

The initial “Cold War” set off a chain of outdoor hockey events throughout college and professional hockey, leading to high demand for a rematch of the intrastate rivals, who still hold the attendance record. Less than a month ago, the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins played outdoors at Fenway Park in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.

But with more than 100,000 seats available at Michigan Stadium, the attendance record from the first installment of the outdoor rivalry could be broken next December.

Next weekend, Michigan will take on No. 3 Wisconsin in its first outdoor game since the “Cold War” in the Camp Randall Classic on Feb. 6. But as of Jan. 22, the long-awaited game in Madison had only sold 42,000 of the estimated 80,000 tickets available.

Check back with this week for more updates and details on the “Cold War II.”

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