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The Big House becomes the Big Ice House in Ann Arbor


ANN ARBOR (WKZO) -- New Years Day is a huge one for Michigan sports fans. Not only is Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, but the Red Wings are at the Big House.

After a one-year hiatus due to the lockout, the NHL's Winter Classic makes its return on New Year's Day. This season's annual outdoor contest features Original Six opponents as the Detroit Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.

This is the sixth NHL Winter Classic, which began in 2008 with the Penguins beating the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Other Winter Classics have been played at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Heinz Field and Citizens Bank Park.

This is the second time the Red Wings have been involved, outgunning the Blackhawks 6-4 in Chicago in 2009.

The first game in Buffalo had the highest attendance to date, with more than 71-thousand fans, but this year's game will eclipse that with more than 100-thousand fans braving the cold and sitting some distance from the action, still expected at the home of college football's Wolverines.

This is the first time a team from Canada has been part of the game.