Confirming a long-held rumor, Michigan on Thursday announced that it will host Michigan State outdoors at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11.
Faceoff for the game, dubbed The Big Chill at the Big House, is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern.
The teams set the international attendance record for a hockey game by drawing 74,544 to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., on Oct. 6, 2001. Michigan Stadium holds 106,201 for football.
“I am extremely pleased that the Michigan and Michigan State athletic departments are collaborating on such an outstanding event,” Wolverines athletic director Bill Martin said in a news release. “The Cold War game in 2001 was a resounding success, and this game at Michigan Stadium should again provide great excitement for the schools, the CCHA and the state of Michigan.”
It will be the second straight season with an outdoor game for Michigan. The Wolverines are playing at Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium on Feb. 6.
The Big Chill at the Big House is scheduled to be the fifth outdoor game in Division I men’s hockey. Wisconsin played Ohio State at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., in 2006; and Boston College and Boston University played at Fenway Park earlier this year.
“We are thrilled to take part in this game at Michigan Stadium, and proud that our event in 2001 has led to a series of these games that bring hockey back to where it began — outdoors,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. “The Cold War game has led the way to some exciting opportunities in college hockey and the NHL. It’s a nod to tradition, but also a very modern, exciting thing for our student-athletes and fans to experience. There are always great crowds when these teams meet, and we expect another fantastic gathering of hockey fans in the state of Michigan to embrace this exciting event.”
The playing surface will be placed in the center of Michigan Stadium. The red line will run on top of the 50-yard line, and the end boards will extend to reach the 17-yard lines.
“This will be an unbelievable event,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “Not only is this a great rivalry between two top programs, but for it to be held in the Big House at Michigan is beyond what any of us have ever dreamt. This is finally a reality and it could be the largest crowd ever to witness a hockey game of any kind. I know our team, our staff and our fans from all over the country will be counting the days until the Big Chill at the Big House arrives.”
Said Michigan State coach Rick Comley: “Michigan State-Michigan is one of college hockey’s great rivalries, and this will be a grand stage on which to showcase it. This is an exciting event for the student-athletes, coaches and staff, and the fan bases of both schools. When these teams face off, it is a game that people pay attention to nationally — and having one of our games outdoors in Michigan Stadium will create even more excitement and energy.”
Michigan and Michigan State are scheduled to play three additional times next season — once each at Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena, Michigan State’s Munn Ice Arena and Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.
“Michigan and Michigan State set the standard for staging outdoor games on a grand scale on Oct. 6, 2001, and it’s great to see them collaborating again on an event that should once again put two CCHA teams in the national, and international, hockey spotlight,” CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos said.