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Winter Classic 2014: Leafs beat Red Wings in NHL’s biggest game

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Winter Classic 2014 brought out a huge turnout for the NHL’s biggest game, according to a Jan. 1 Yahoo News report. Despite the heavy snow and wind, coupled with freezing temperatures, The National Hockey League’s fans were not deterred, kicking off 2014 with its biggest hockey game ever on New Year’s Day. Fans flocked to the Michigan stadium where they endured the cold to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs score a 3-2 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings.

According to Crown’s Detroit Business News, not only did the NHL score its best attendance on record, it also nabbed best television ratings for the game which aired at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day, drawing in a national rating of 2.9. A record 105,491 tickets were sold in the league’s sixth Winter Classic, the signature Jan. 1 national game.

Winter Classic 2014 appears to have surpassed the current Guinness record of 104,173 fans who turned out for the “Big Chill at the Big House” between Michigan State and the University of Michigan in 2010. Crown’s Detroit Business News reports that it did break the attendance record of 71,217 set in 2008 for the inaugural event, where the Pittsburgh Penguins played the Buffalo Sabres in New York.

There is nowhere to go, but up for the NHL in 2014. Holding the Winter Classic in the “Big House” provided the ‘wow’ factor the NHL was looking for to kickoff the New Year but it marked just the start of the league's marketing blitz, Reuters reports. Next up are two games at Yankees Stadium, and one in Los Angeles before the NHL hits the Sochi Olympics stage.

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