Sunday, December 12, 2010
Event: The Big Chill at the Big House
On December 11, 2010 Michigan played Michigan State in an outdoor game at Michigan Stadium. 113,411 fans packed "The Big House", which set an all time record for a University of Michigan sporting event, besting even the record for Wolverines football. Michigan was victorious 5-0, but regardless of the outcome, it was viewed as success. Of note for those that will be attending the Winer Classic: game time temps were over 40 degrees. Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon was quoted as saying "If it rained, we were in trouble.".
Nine years ago, a similar event took place at Michigan State. This brought the idea of outdoor hockey games back to the minds of fans and hockey executives alike. While the NHL had played an outdoor exhibiton game in Las Vegas outside of Caesar's Palace in 1991, the Heritage Classic between Edmonton and Montreal was the first regular season contest to take place. Since then, the Winter Classic has become an annual tradition, with the January 1, 2011 game to take place in Pittsburgh between the Penguins and Capitals. The Heritage Classic will also see a return, with the Flames and Canadiens clashing February 20, 20011 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.