The NHL announced on Sunday that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will play in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2014 after it was cancelled this season. This is going to be a game that sees the first Canadian team play in a Winter Classic, and it will also allow an opportunity for the Toronto fans to make the short trip to Detroit. This is a win-win situation for Toronto.
The Maple Leafs will get national television coverage on NBC in the United States that they honestly haven’t seen in recent years as the network focuses on other teams too much. The fans in Canada have seen a ton of Toronto hockey, but for the fans in the U.S., this will be something new. I would expect at least 100,000 people at Michigan Stadium for the game, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the stadium has a large amount of Toronto fans in it.
The Winter Classic has become the one big event that keeps a ton of eyes on hockey. This season’s cancellation was a big deal to me at least because the NHL blew a golden opportunity. We can only hope that the weather in Michigan to begin 2014 isn’t horrible because no one wants to see a snowstorm during a hockey game. The snow globe experience we got a few years ago in Buffalo was great, but a consistent snow won’t allow the game to be played. This game should allow fans to finally see a player like Nazem Kadri on national television for the first time. I really can’t wait for this game to happen.