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Icers to play in Comerica Park

September 12, 2012 - The Oxford varsity hockey team will play in a once-in-a-lifetime event this season when the squad plays in an outdoor game at Comerica Park as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.

And what makes it even more special is that the Wildcats will face arch-rival Lake Orion in the game scheduled for Dec. 18.

The game will be one part of 14 days of events that will culminate with a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan Stadium in what is expected to be the largest crowd to ever witness an outdoor hockey game.

Oxford Coach Dave Hague said his team played in an outdoor game once before in 2010 at Michigan Stadium beating Troy, 4-1, and it was a great experience.

"Playing outdoors in the heart of Hockeytown at a venue like Comerica Park will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players," Hague said. "It will be great as well to have family, friends, fans and faculty all get a chance to be involved in such a unique event."

Senior defenseman Kyle Schnettler and senior forward Jimmy Wallington did not play in the 2010 game, so they are thrilled to participate in the game this year.

"I'm very excited to play outdoors this year and I'm looking forward to that the most out of everything," said Schnettler. "This will be my first outdoor game, but playing against our rival will bring a lot of intensity to the game, especially that it's an outdoor game in front of your family and friends."

There will be several other high school games at Comerica Park as well as the annual Great Lakes Invitational college hockey tournament featuring the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan and Michigan Tech.

There will be games featuring teams from the American and Ontario hockey leagues as well as other opportunities for open skating on the outdoor ice surface for families.

There will be an alumni game between former Red Wings and Maple Leaf players on New Year's Eve in Ann Arbor.

All of it will lead up to the Winter Classic to be held at UM Stadium between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs on January 1.

But for Oxford players, meeting Lake Orion on the ice at Comerica Park, will be a highlight.

"I'm very excited about the outdoor game," said Wallington. "Having the privilege to play at Comerica Park is one thing but playing against our biggest rivals is just unreal. It is going to be one of the most exciting games I have ever played in. The fact that we are playing Lake Orion and it is an outdoor game is pretty awesome. I think it will be a lot more intense because of all of the hype that is being built up now that we all know who we're playing there. It won't be a game to miss."

Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.
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