The rumors are true. The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium — known as The Big House — in the 2013 NHL Winter Classic. There's no logo yet, but the graphic above was provided by the league and used during today's announcement.
The game returns to New Year's Day — January 1 — which will fall on a Tuesday next season. The event will also mark a couple firsts. It's the first time a Canadian team will be involved in what has traditionally been a TV event between popular American-based franchises. It's also the first time Winter Classic opponents have been from different conferences.
In addition, the Winter Classic event itself will actually be much bigger than it's been before — requiring two separate venues for all of the planned festivities. Comerica Park (home of the MLB's Detroit Tigers) will host the alumni game and more ahead of the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium (home of the University of Michigan's Wolverines football team).
In the NHL's press release there was no specific mention of the specialty uniforms for the big game. And as you can see, the current primary logos for both teams were on display. But it's still early. We'll keep an eye on it. Perhaps we'll get a summer press conference to unveil the jerseys.
But then, predicting when the NHL will make announcements about the Winter Classic has become difficult lately. Here's how the timing has worked out in the past.
- 2008 Sabres/Penguins: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo — Game announced Sept. 17, 2007. Jerseys for both teams unveiled in early November.
- 2009 Blackhawks/Red Wings: Wrigley Field, Chicago — Game announced July 16, 2008. Jerseys for both teams unveiled Oct. 25, 2008.
- 2010 Bruins/Flyers: Fenway Park, Boston — Game announced July 15, 2009. Flyers jerseys unveiled Sept. 11, 2009; Bruins jerseys unveiled Sept. 17, 2009.
- 2011 Penguins/Capitals: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh — Game announced July 27, 2010. Capitals jerseys unveiled Oct. 2, 2010; Penguins jerseys unveiled Oct. 28, 2010.
- 2012 Flyers/Rangers: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia — Game announced Sept. 26, 2011. Flyers jerseys unveiled Nov. 21, 2011; Rangers jerseys unveiled Nov. 28, 2011.
- 2013 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor — Game announced Feb. 9, 2012. Jerseys to be announced.
So basically, until this season, we could expect the game to be announced in the summer (July) followed by jerseys in the fall, right before the season or just after the start of it. With the Flyers/Rangers game, everything got pushed back. Today's announcement threw everything off again. So, while we can presume the jerseys will still have to wait for the fall, it's really anyone's guess.