The big announcement today from the NHL was that next year’s Winter Classic will take place at the Big House, home of the University of Michigan Wolverines. This is a very nice venue and I expect it to be a great turnout.
They’ve held hockey games in this stadium before and have drawn over 100,000 in attendance. This Winter Classic should have no problem drawing that crowd since it is Hockeytown.
The matchup between the Wings and the Leafs should be good too. Well, the Leafs aren’t that great of a team but they are the big Canadian team and it will surely draw a lot of interest going up against one of the league’s most consistent teams.
I love watching the Winter Classic and I believe it has been one of the best things that the NHL has done. Sure, it hasn’t always been smooth but overall, it really is a nice concept.
As I continue to see these games take place on the East Coast and now parts of the Midwest of America, I still hope that it comes to California.
The NHL is still popular here in California. The three teams that the state has continue to have a strong following. Specifically for the Sharks, they have one of the strongest fanbases in the league. More importantly, this would help boost the league’s image.
I would love to see this game played at AT&T Park. The problem I would assume is that the weather won’t be cold enough and the majority of the NHL fans might not care for a West Coast team playing. But I still think it’s a worthy risk to take.
Hockey in the West Coast isn’t as popular as it is in Canada, East Coast or states like Michigan and Wisconsin. But can you imagine what a Winter Classic on the West Coast would do?
In the Bay Area on New Year’s Day, it’s relatively cold. I doubt the heat of the sun would be any major issue. It could work out well.
The problem I feel that the NHL doesn’t want to risk is going with something that might not have success. The East Coast weather and the market is just so much better out West. It’s just hard to convince the league to take that one risk.
Maybe one day they do change their minds and decide to go West. But I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I’m not even sure how long the league will continue this annual game. I’m just crossing my fingers here.