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Photo: Comerica Park readies itself for Hockeytown

Big League Stew

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Comerica Park will host the Hockeytown Festival in late 2012. (AP)

Even as someone who falls ill at the sight of the winged wheel, I can admit that the 2013 Winter Classic is already on track to be one of the best. The Detroit Red Wings will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year's Day in front of 115,000 people at the famed Michigan Stadium. The crowd might even be able to make some noise once they lift the Wolverine bluebloods out of the bowl and insert a Maple Leaf Nation that's more than ready to storm the border.

The really cool thing is that Red Wings (and Tigers) owner Mike Ilitch won't let Ann Arbor hog all the fun. It was officially announced on Thursday that Comerica Park will play host to a number of hockey games from the Winter Classic alumni game to the NCAA's annual Great Lakes Invitational to an American Hockey League contest. They even set up a rink outline so everyone can imagine what it will look like (though we had a pretty good idea already with Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Citizens Bank Park hosting three of the five Winter Classics they've already held).

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Judging from the nice weather, it actually looks like the Tigers could be out there playing right now instead of preparing to hit Lakeland in less than two weeks. But we're also excited to see some outdoor hockey on the downtown stadium campus.

And let's also be honest: Ilitch has to explore all the revenue streams that he can now that Prince Fielder is on the payroll.

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