Seemingly every season brings a new twist to the recent tradition that is the NHL Winter Classic. It should come as no surprise that two original six teams, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, put their own twist on the festivities.
Two of the most storied franchises in hockey and with a rivalry that dates back to the 1920s, the two teams have had so much talent run through their locker rooms that just one alumni game wasn't enough. The Leafs and host Red Wings will add a second alumni game to the Winter Classic festivities on December 31.
The alumni games will be held at Comerica Park, home of the MLB's Detroit Tigers. The two teams have combined for 24 Stanley Cups (Toronto-13, Detroit-11) and will bring a great amount of history to the event.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced the change at a press conference Wednesday held on the infield grass at Comerica Park.
"We can have 75 to 80 or maybe 100 of the greatest players in Red Wings and Leafs history (involved). (We're) not exactly sure how we're going to break down the game. That's going to be for another time, but I'm looking at this game as a trip down Memory Lane. For me, as a fan, to be able to sit in this stadium and watch all these great Red Wings players and Leafs players on the same sheet of ice is going to be absolutely incredible."
Gordie Howe (Not playing, but will make an appearance)
Notable Maple Leaf Alumni participating:
The Winter Classic has evolved since 2008, when the event started in Orchard Park, New York. The event has added concerts, collegiate hockey and now, a second alumni game.
This season's Winter Classic will also play host to the annual Great Lakes Invitational, which will be held outside for the first time.
This is also the first time a Canadian team will play in the Winter Classic.
The Winter Classic game will be held at Michigan Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan and will boast the largest capacity to attend a hockey game, 104,173.
This should be a great event for hockey fans of all ages. There's enough history to go around with these two storied franchises. Two games is a great addition with such a great rivalry and great talent.