The entire turf is out at Comerica Park, as the Detroit Tigers prep for the installation of a hockey rink as part of the NHL's Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival.
The actual Winter Classic will be played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, where the Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1, 2014, but many festivities and other games will be played at Comerica Park under the Hockeytown Winter Festival banner. This includes an AHL matchup featuring the Toronto Marlies and the Grand Rapids Griffins, two Red Wings/Maple Leafs alumni games, and a slew of college and high-school games starting at the end of December.
After the temporary rink and icemaking equipment is removed, the Tigers will lay down new sod for the 2014 season. From Crain's Detroit Business:
New Kentucky bluegrass will be installed early next year at Comerica in the first full-field sod replacement at the ballpark since 2007.
The Detroit Tigers haven't awarded the contract to a sod farm for the new grass, which is scheduled to be installed in March to give it a month to take root before the 2014 baseball season begins.
The temporary ice and permanent grass represent the latest new playing surfaces installed in recent years by the region's professional and college sports teams, each ranging in price from $100,000 up to $1 million.
The 2014 Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival were originally scheduled for 2013, but postponed due to labor problems between the NHL and players.
RELATED STORIES: Comerica Park, Michigan Stadium to host 2013 Winter Classic; Economic impact of Frozen Fenway: $28.8M; Let it snow: hockey at a ballpark near you; Frozen Fenway returns in 2012; Indians extend Snow Days promotion with Buckeyes-Wolverines hockey bash; Avista Stadium prepped for outdoor hockey game
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