February 9, 2012
Toronto-Detroit WJC bid worth try
By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
DETROIT - Limited by the Rogers Centre roof, there's no Winter Classic in the City of Toronto's immediate future.
So what could come of the Leafs sharing centre stage with the Detroit Red Wings next New Year's Day in the largest-attended hockey game of all-time outdoors at the University of Michigan's Big House?
Perhaps a joint Toronto-Detroit world junior bid.
"It's worth a look," Leafs GM Brian Burke said.
Edmonton and Calgary, boasting both of Alberta's NHL facilities, just finished combining on a wildly successful and profitable world junior tournament.
A set-up with games at both Toronto's Air Canada Centre and Detroit's Joe Louis Arena - or a new facility - would make the holiday season showcase an international event.
"I don't think the world juniors have ever been held in two countries at once before," Burke said. "We have a lot of good junior centres in our country, but it's something to consider."
The teams would have to use big-league clout to get Hockey Canada and USA Hockey on board. But if Detroit's Hockeytown Winter Festival can create an event in which two warring bodies - the Ontario Hockey League and the NCAA (U.S. college hockey) - play on the same ice at Comerica Park, anything's possible.
"That's because of (Red Wings owners) Mike and Marian Ilitch," Burke said. "They've poured millions into minor hockey here in Detroit. If there's not a street named after them already here, there should be."