A formal announcement has not been made, but the 2013 Winter Classic will most likely be held in Detroit at the Big House, to a capacity of about 115,000 – the most ever to witness an outdoor hockey game in the NHL. Football stadiums make better venues than baseball diamonds; so I am glad to see the NHL select this venue over other Detroit options.
The opponent – another Original 6 team, and a former conference rival of the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs. This will mark the first time that NBC will feature a cross-border rivalry allowing a Canadien team to partake in the annual festivities.
This also opens the door for the Winter Classic to be held in Canada, as recent history has proven that the visiting team in the Winter Classic hosts the event in just around the 2-3 year mark.
Toronto hosting the event gives Buffalo an option to get back into the event – as regionally the rival between Buffalo and Toronto only makes sense for the matchup. It is unlikely that NBC will allow the NHL to put two Canadien teams in the matchup, Boston has had plenty of chances at the Classic – and Ottawa and Montreal make it a double dose of north of the border.