The 2014 NHL Winter Classic is an upcoming outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game, scheduled to be held on January 1, 2014. The game, the sixth Winter Classic, will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The game was originally planned to be played on January 1, 2013, as the 2013 NHL Winter Classic, but was postponed due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout.
The Winter Classic will likely serve as the league's biggest showcase game of the season, since there will be no All-Star Game in the 2013–14 season due to the Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia, in February (under the provision that the NHL makes an agreement with the Olympics to allow its players to compete).
Initial announcement 
On February 8, 2012, the University of Michigan Board of Regents authorized athletic director David Brandon to negotiate a contract with the NHL regarding the Winter Classic. On February 9, 2012, the NHL announced at Comerica Park that the 2013 Classic would take place at Michigan Stadium, while the Great Lakes Invitational would take place at Comerica Park. Some OHL and AHL games were also slated to be played at Comerica Park.
The event would have been the first Winter Classic to hold events in two locations. The Winter Classic game itself was to be played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the highest capacity non-motorsports stadium in North America. Another rink would have been constructed at Comerica Park in Detroit and would have hosted the Hockeytown Winter Festival and the NHL Alumni Showdown. The Winter Classic game itself would have marked the first time a stadium dedicated solely to college football would have hosted the Winter Classic (all five previous events were held at Major League Baseball and National Football League stadiums). The game was to return to its customary January 1 date after being played on January 2 the previous year (as January 1, 2012 was a Sunday with a full slate of National Football League games).
The Red Wings–Maple Leafs matchup, an Original Six era rivalry, was to be the first time an American team and a Canadian team were to face each other in an outdoor NHL game (prior to this, the Winter Classic was reserved for American teams and the Heritage Classic for Canadian ones). The only other teams to play in a Winter Classic without hosting are the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals.
The NHL Alumni Showdown coaches were named on July 26, 2012. Former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman along with assistant Barry Smith were to coach the Red Wings' alumni team. The pair of Bowman and Smith coached three Stanley Cup wins in Detroit. Former Maple Leaf coach Pat Quinn was to coach the Maple Leafs' alumni team, along with Red Kelly, Hall of Fame player and former Maple Leafs' coach.
Cancellation and postponement 
On November 2, 2012, the NHL cancelled the game due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout. The date for the cancellation came as a result of a deadline in the league's contract with Michigan Stadium, in which the league would have incurred additional expenses if they cancelled after November 2. During the announcement, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that the 2014 Winter Classic and associated events would be awarded to Ann Arbor and Detroit and would also feature the Maple Leafs and Red Wings. The NHL then officially announced the game on April 7, 2013.
- ^ a b "Red Wings, Maple Leafs to meet in 2014 NHL Winter Classic". CBC Sports. April 7, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
- ^ "Michigan regents approve renting Michigan Stadium to NHL for Winter Classic". Click on Detroit. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- ^ "Quinn, Bowman to coach Classic alumni teams" (Press release). NHL. July 26, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- ^ a b "NHL announces cancellation of 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic & SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival". National Hockey League. November 2, 2012.
- ^ "Decision day arrives for NHL's Winter Classic". The Buffalo News. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- ^ Strang, Katie, and Craig Custance (November 2, 2012). "Source: Winter Classic canceled". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 2, 2012.