The big game is still more than five months away, but the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings have already determined they have so many interested players that they won’t all be able to play in one alumni game at the Winter Classic.
So they’ve decided to have two at Comerica Park on Dec. 31.
“When we began the process of determining who should be on the roster for the Red Wings alumni team, it became very obvious very quickly that we simply did not have enough room on one bench to hold enough of the many deserving players,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said.
“When we contacted Toronto and asked them what they thought about the possibility of two games, they immediately breathed a sigh of relief as they were going through the exact same issues we were in trying to fit all these players on one team.”
It’s expected that close to 100 alumni from both franchises will suit up for the games, which will be viewable back-to-back for the price of a single ticket.
The players confirmed as taking part are:
Maple Leafs: Darryl Sittler, Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph, Johnny Bower, Felix Potvin, Rick Vaive, Dave Andreychuk, Darcy Tucker, Mike Palmateer, Kevin Maguire, Ron Ellis, Jim McKenny
Red Wings: Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mark Howe, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon.
More players will be announced closer to the game, and it’ll be interesting to see which of the notable omissions take part.
For the Leafs, that includes Mats Sundin, Borje Salming, Frank Mahovlich and Dave Keon. For the Wings, an alumni game hardly seems complete without Steve Yzerman (now the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning), Nick Lidstrom and Norm Ullman.
Tickets for the game will go on sale to season ticket holders on Aug. 1 and to the general public a couple weeks later.