This year’s 2012 Winter Classic just got more classier when Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland, along with Toronto Maple Leafs Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin announced preliminary rosters for the Toronto Maple Leafs versus Red Wings Alumni game on December 31st at Comerica Park.
After receiving a great amount of interest from the Maple Leafs’ and Red Wings’ alumni groups in playing at Comerica Park, their will now be two alumni outdoor games on December 31st, the first time this has ever been done in the event’s history. Meaning fans will now be treated to two alumni games in this year’s Winter Classic, yes I said TWO, featuring around to 100 players from these two most historic franchises in the National Hockey League for just the price of one ticket.
Detroit Red Wings great Dino Ciccarelli commented on the addition of a second alumni game.
“The big game will be the second game, but there’s other guys involved with the alumni that want to be a part of it, as well,” said Ciccarelli. “There’s not enough room (on the benches) for one game, so it’s nice to see they’re getting more people involved. There’s a lot of people who want to be involved in this. Us older guys didn’t get a chance (to play an outdoor game), so it’s nice to be a part of it.”
The second alumni game adds to what is already a jam packed Winter Classic.
December 15-26 – Celebration of Hockey amateur games, corporate outings and public skates.
December 27-31 – Outdoor Festival featuring interactive games, autograph signings, face painting and ice sculpture exhibits, in addition to several musical performances and live entertainment.
December 27-28 – Great Lakes Invitational featuring the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Western Michigan Broncos and Michigan Tech Huskies all competing for the 2012 MacInnes Cup.
December 29 – Ontario Hockey League Double-header featuring the Windsor Spitfires taking on the Saginaw Spirit and the Plymouth Whalers battling the J. Ross Robertson Cup champion London Knights.
December 30 American Hockey League Game featuring the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies.
December 31 2012 – Maple Leafs versus Red Wings Alumni Showdown Double-header featuring two games of legendary players from two of the National Hockey League’s most storied franchises going head-to-head.
I personally thought this year’s Winter Classic was already an eventful, event with what was initially scheduled leading up to the Maple Leafs and Red Wings match-up. But with the addition of a second alumni game feels like the 2012 Winter Classic will continue to help boost overall hockey ratings for the NHL.
Rant Sports Toronto Maple Leafs Feature Writer
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