By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
There are a lot of great sports cities around the nation: Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and New York (for who we are praying the safety of during Hurricane Sandy). Detroit is one of those cities. It has the four major professional sports teams even though the city has a population less than one million people.
With the World Series just ending in Detroit, with unfortunately, a loss, this area is obsessed with sports. So is this just another article on how the city of Detroit has great fans, great teams and great history? No. Far from that actually.
The history, the teams, the fans, all have great background information, but the fact is, the city of Detroit knows how to host sporting events, no matter the result.
Since 2000, the city has been on the up and up with sports, and that doesn’t even count the two Stanley Cup Championships in 1997 and 1998 by the Detroit Red Wings.
The Detroit Tigers, now the American League Champions, moved from Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull to Comerica Park, right across the street from owner, Mike Ilitch’s headquarters in the Fox Theater.
A couple of years later, the Detroit Lions moved from the Pontiac Silverdome in the suburbs to Ford Field, right next door to Comerica. The Red Wings still play at Joe Louis Arena just on the edge of Downtown on the river, and the Pistons are still playing at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The city has hosted numerous events, big and small. The Detroit Red Wings, and hockey have been very prominent in the city. In 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008 and 2009, the Stanley Cup Finals came to the Motor City, or known to many hockey fans and Detroiters alike, “Hockeytown.”
Along with professional hockey, the city has hosted a number of hockey events. Every year, they hold the Great Lakes Invitational, a CCHA college hockey tournament at Joe Louis Arena that draws the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech and a few other schools.
Ford Field played host to the Frozen Four in 2010, which featured Boston College and Wisconsin. The stadium has also played host to the NCAA Final Four in 2009, that featured the local Michigan State University Spartans against the North Carolina Tar Heels, which saw an unfortunate loss for the Spartans, but saw a record crowd of over 72,000 people attend the game.
Every year, the field also plays host to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The game is an NCAA Bowl game that features a MAC team and a B1G 10 team, of which both conferences have teams in the area.
Oh, and we can’t forget the city hosted Super Bowl XL in 2006, that featured the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, for a week of football mania.
So, a lot goes on in the city with sports, and we haven’t even gotten to what happens at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The World Series brought baseball fans from around the globe to the city of Detroit. The Detroit Sports Commission and Visit Detroit commissioned volunteers to hand out free things and make the city look wonderful. Most of the downtown buildings were lit up at night to showcase the amazing skyline the city has.
This city was made for sports. The fans are made for sports. There are venues made for sports. What helps drive this city is sports. Some may not like it, others probably do, but what is important is that when teams do well, or there are big events, people show up.
This city, and it’s people come together, and form a special bond that only Detroiters know of, and the more of that bond we can have, the stronger we become, and the faster we get to rebuilding this city.
To read the original post that appeared in the eighth edition of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October, 30, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org