The Winter Classic is best when it’s played in enormous, frigid, snowy stadiums and the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., delivered on all counts on New Year’s Day.
In front of an announced crowd of 105,491 at Michigan Stadium, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on a shootout because, with wind chills just below zero, who doesn’t want to keep playing?
Scenes from a classic Classic:
Remember these images next year when the game is being played in 45-degree weather in Washington, D.C.
The announced attendance figure would break the Guinness World record of 104,173 for a hockey game, set in 2010 at the Big House for a game between Michigan State and Michigan. Guiness, though, has not verified the new mark. “We know we sold 105,000-plus tickets,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “But we also suspect there were some no-shows because we heard stories of people taking two, two-and-a-half hours to get here from downtown.”
After the game, Red Wings players applauded fans.
Things don’t look much better today in Detroit, by the way.