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Up North, MI • United States • 5 Years Old • Female
My vote is either Montreal, Detroit, or Toronto.

It has been suggested in other media that Montreal would be a great tie-in to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary. Great idea to highlight Original Six in any form.

Another floater has been to tie the Winter Classic to the All-Star Game. I like that idea even better if the All-Star Game is held in a northern clime.

I would imagine the Winter Classic ratings will be encouraging. And I even saw several promos of the game, in depth, on the Weather Channel, due to the novelty of an outdoor game in lake-effect snow. However, a big factor, at least for folks in my neck of the woods, is to get the next outdoor extravaganza off the New Year's Day date. Although the state of Michigan is a huge hockey viewing audience it is also big on college football. And we always have somebody (usually UM) in a January 1st bowl game. Unfortunately, the Winter Classic started at exactly the same time as the Wolverines and Gators.

I happen to be an MSU alumna so always enjoy cheering on fellow Spartan Ryan Miller. But, my 80-year old mother graduated from Michigan. And, for her, it is Red Wings or nothing in hockey. So this afternoon was a dizzying whirl of clicking back and forth between the two games. I was hoping for a Gators blow-out, since they were the overwhelming favorites to win. Given that eventuality I figured I could permanently switch to the hockey game at halftime. But, darn if Michigan didn't decide for the first time in a long time to win a bowl game.

My personal preference for a future Winter Classic would be either Wings/Leafs or Wings/Habs in either of the three cities. And in Detroit, Ford Field would be ideal for several reasons.

Ford Field seats approximately 65,000 and also has club seating. Plus - for hockey writers in the traditional media - the press box is heated. Additionally, the stadium is rather new and boasts the best sight lines in the country for NFL games. Lord knows, it will be Doomsday before the Lions ever again are in a playoff game so there should be plenty of time to convert the field, although the "Motor City Bowl" is the day after Christmas.

Another serious consideration is, of course, the weather. It is truly remarkable that today's game was not destroyed by a blizzard. The last time the Sabres played the Wings at the Joe was October 13, 2006. On that date, Buffalo was hit with over two feet of snow and the power was out for tens of thousands of people for weeks. I remember that the FSN-Detroit crew panned the cameras on the huge boxes of generators in the staging area of the arena. Sabres players had purchased these to take back home. No date is safe from snow in Buffalo.

But, what about snow in Detroit? Well, that's the beauty of Ford Field - it has a retractable roof. If the fans and the players want to go al fresco, that is an option for the backyard pond feel. But should the gale winds start to blow in off the Detroit River, the show can go on - and millions of dollars of investment are not at risk of complete loss.

So, come to Detroit. And bring your "Fire Millen" signs with you.
January 2, 2008 1:09 PM ET | Delete
Good Idea, but I think the game would best be suited to be played in Ann Arbor or Spartan Stadium. Only because I like the chance of the weather. Why have an outdoor game in a stadium that can close the roof? Plus with it in Ann Arbor, they would get over 100,000 people to the game especially if Tornto or Montreal comes to town.
January 2, 2008 3:27 PM ET | Delete
I agree with rshnk29. The purpose was to be a "throw back" to hockey's roots. The elements are supposed to be there to effect the players and the fans. The NHL big wigs got exactly what they wanted in Buffalo. And all was well. /// What does original six have to do with this? Sure, a few of those teams would be great markets to have an outdoor game in but there are many markets that would do better than at least 2 of the "O-6" teams. (example: Buffalo better than Boston and possibly Chicago for that event.) Recipe: There has to be a good fan base in the town, the opposing teams fans must be able to get to the event within a days drive, and other hockey cities have to be close enough to make the trip in order to have high interest and a successful event. Whether for better or worse is debatable but the term "Original Six" doesn't mean squat in todays NHL and fans of those teams need to get over it. The NHL is a business, not a museum. The road to the NHL's success starts with the present. The past is reserved for us current fans to love and pass on to future fans who have fallen in love with the present. In order to grow the sport everyone from the commissioner down to that one fan in Tennessee must promote the present and not drag our feet in the past.
January 2, 2008 10:47 PM ET | Delete
rshnk29, I would love to see a game at Michigan Stadium if it could be pulled off, especially with 100,000 fans, but I have to wonder if it'll be feasible. I've been to a Michigan football game and been in Ann Arbor on several game days; the stadium was built in the 1920s and does not have convenient parking, and Ann Arbor is not a huge city like Buffalo. Traffic completely shuts down and parking is an absolute nightmare, even if you're miles away from the stadium on a residential road. And that's with many thousands of students and residents simply walking from where they live. An NHL game there would be much more commuter-heavy and it would probably be complete chaos if it even gets close to a sellout. Again, nothing would make me happier than if it could work, but I have to think Ford Field would be the best bet for a game in Michigan. Spartan Stadium might work too (they pulled off the "Cold War" game fairly well), but again, the fact that fewer people would be able to walk to the game, and also being a little out of the way for Detroit residents, might make it a little more difficult.
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