Cold War II: Outdoor hockey trend catching on

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Chicago may not have invented the outdoor-hockey-in-classic-sports-venue event, but one could argue it sure perfected it with the year’s Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

The trend is catching on, and spreading back to the college ranks.

University of Michigan will take on Michigan State Dec. 11, 2010 at Michigan “The Big House” Stadium.

The Wolverines will also play outdoors against Wisconsin Feb. 6, 2010.

University officials are hoping the game can break some attendance records.

From the Detroit Free Press:

With its capacity, Michigan Stadium could break the world record for hockey attendance set when U-M played MSU on Oct. 6, 2001, at Spartan Stadium in a game dubbed ‘The Cold War.’ It drew 74,544 fans.

But there’s some competition:

German organizers also are going to try to break that record in May 2010, when the opening game of the world championships is played in Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, a 75,976-seat soccer stadium.

But what of Michigan’s premiere hockey club, the defending NHL champion Detroit Red Wings? Surely they, too, deserve an outdoor extravaganza in their home state.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has said repeatedly that he would like Detroit to play an NHL game at the Big House. Stevenson said no discussions took place with the NHL, the Wings or any schools other than Michigan State. Asked if was conceivable that the Wings could play a game at the Big House in the future, Stevenson said: ‘I think that’s an open question.’

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