Living in Detroit means there is always something to do—something new, or an already favorite pastime. Something going on every day. It also means you always have something to look forward to. Sometimes it’s hard to wait. I thought it was difficult counting the days until April 5th and the Detroit Tiger’s Opening Day. Now I have to change my perspective from days to months…and begin a new countdown. This time, for something that is both an old favorite pastime and a new, never-experienced event. The familiar favorite: Hockey. And living just a few blocks from Joe Louis Arena, I can walk to Red Wings’ games all throughout the season! What’s the ‘new’? The 2013 Inaugural Hockeytown Winter Festival!
Today, The National Hockey League and the Detroit Red Wings announced plans for both the 2013 Winter Classic—to be played at the University of Michigan’s Big House on January 1st, 2013—and the Inaugural Hockeytown Winter Festival—which will be held that same week at Comerica Park, right in Downtown Detroit.
Flashback to the ‘old’: The first game played between the two clubs, then called the Detroit Cougars and the Toronto St. Patricks, was held on January 4th, 1927 in Windsor, ON. Flash-forward to the ‘new’: In 11 months, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs—both Original Six teams—will meet again, taking the Winter Classic to “incomparable heights” with 115,000 people watching the game in person in The Big House. And the Hockeytown Winter Festival expects to draw 150-200,000 people to downtown Detroit for events which will include the Alumni Showdown Game and the Great Lakes Invitational (match-ups between University of Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Technological University, and Western Michigan hockey teams), open skating for the public, and New Year’s Eve festivities.
Mike Illich took the stage at the press conference asking, “Where’s my skates? I’m all fired up.” The feeling is contagious, Mr. Illich. I want to lace ‘em up and get this Festival started right now. As Christopher Illich said: “Two Original Six Teams. Two venues. Two sheets of ice.” I say: Too long to wait.
But I will. Because that is the beautiful thing about living in Downtown Detroit. There is always something to do right now. There is always something to look forward to. And, there is always something to discover. As Christopher Illich also said: “What defines Hockeytown is the people.” And basically—while we anxiously await incredible events like Detroit’s Hockeytown Winter Festival that happen right on our doorstep—it’s the people who are here every day—working, living and playing in this great city—who define Detroit.