Ann Arbor made it on the list of the “10 Most Unusual New Year’s Eve Ball Drops for Families” by Family Vacation Critic!! In case you didn’t know, Ann Arbor is offering a special lit Hockey Puck Drop on New Year’s Eve in honor of hockey’s annual Winter Classic outdoor hockey game taking place on New Year’s Day. The special hockey puck will be 10-feet tall and lit with 6,000 LED lights, dropping in downtown Ann Arbor at midnight. A special lighting ceremony will take place at 8 pm and information on what to expect – from street closures to transportation – can be found below.
Puck Drops Here will take place along Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor from 8 pm – 12:30 am and will feature live entertainment by Michelle Chamuel, last year’s runner up on NBC’s ‘The Voice’ and former Ann Arbor resident. In addition, there will be a countdown to midnight as the 10-foot puck lit with 6,000 LED lights designed by local fabrication studio METAL is lowered.
The University of Michigan Health System is the presenting sponsor of the event and is providing a warming tent at the corner of Main Street and William in the surface lot near Palio restaurant.
Streets will close for the event starting at 8 am on December 31 lasting through 6 am on January 1.
- Main Street from Huron to William
- Washington from Ashley to Fourth (the Washington parking structure will be available)
- Liberty from Ashley to Fourth
New Years Eve and Day will be an exciting and busy time as we welcome new events to downtown Ann Arbor. Specifics for each day are below. If you have additional questions, please contact the DDA at 734-994-6697 or Republic Parking at 734-761-7235.
New Years Eve, December 31
Downtown on New Year’s Eve is always busy, and the ‘Puck Drops Here’ event will make it even more exciting. Because many patrons will be exiting the structures around the same time shortly after midnight that night, Republic Parking will be charging a prepay flat special event rate of $5 will be in effect at two structures so they can simply lift the gate arms up at midnight, thus helping patrons avoid sitting in at line at the cashier booths. All other facilities will operate and charge as normal.
- Forest Structure beginning at 3pm
- 4th & William structure beginning at 7pm
New Years Day, January 1
Representatives of the NHL have requested that the downtown public parking lots and structures be staffed to assist their patrons coming to the hockey game. This request includes having flaggers on the sidewalk to waive people into the facilities and staff members to hand out maps, give directions, and otherwise be available to assist patrons. Republic Parking will have staff at the parking facilities beginning at 8am on January 1. They will be charging a $5 entry flat fee on New Year’s Day at all parking facilities, with the exception of metered lots and on-street parking spaces.
After careful consideration and extensive planning with the Ann Arbor Police Department, the University of Michigan Police Department, the Downtown Development Authority and the Briarwood Mall, the NHL will operate a shuttle bus system that fans can utilize on game day that services the same hotels and parking lots that the AATA normally services for Football games. The NHL will be adding service to downtown Ann Arbor with two routes and vastly increasing the number of buses operating from the Briarwood Mall.
- Cost for the Winter Classic Shuttle Bus will be $4 round trip
- Hotels that normally assist in selling the AATA bus tickets will be asked to assist in the same way for the Winter Classic Shuttle
- SP Plus Gameday will be operating the School Bus Shuttle system on behalf of the NHL and will be contacting the hotels to arrange for distribution of these Winter Classic Shuttle wristbands on game day
- Shuttle Buses will operate from 9 am – Noon
- Additional buses have been scheduled for post-game for quicker service
- In total there will be approximately 115 school buses servicing these routes and to accommodate the anticipated extra capacity
Winter Classic Shuttle Bus Routes that will operate from the same stops as the AATA football shuttle are as follows:
- North Route: From the Holiday Inn off Plymouth Road and the Plymouth Road Park & Ride.
- South Route – Boardwalk Drive: There will only be one pick- up and drop-off stop servicing all hotels on Boardwalk Blvd. The Winter Classic shuttle bus stop will be located on Boardwalk Drive, across the street from the Sheraton Hotel and adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott. Shuttle passes may be purchased from these hotels along Boardwalk Drive: Holiday Inn Express, Court Yard Marriott, Fairfield Inn, Sheraton Hotel, Residence Inn, The Hampton Inn and The Red Roof Inn.
- South Route – Briarwood Mall: There will be only one pick-up and drop-off stop servicing those fans who park at Briarwood Mall and the hotels along Briarwood Circle. The Winter Classic shuttle bus stop will be located on the adjacent to the South West Mall entrance across from JC Penny and MC Sports.
- East Route: From the Regents Hotel and Day’s Inn on Carpenter Road.
- Downtown East & Campus: Winter Classic Shuttle Buses will stop at three locations: From East Huron Street across from the Campus Inn, at the corner of South Thayer Street and North University Ave and on Church Street adjacent to the Piazza House close to Willard Street. This East and Campus shuttle will be able to service fans staying at the two downtown hotels, parking garages in the proximity to the S. Thayer Street stop and Campus garages off located off Church Street. These buses will have short trip to a bus drop off and post-game load zone on East Hoover Street on the North side of the Stadium.
- West Route: From Clarion Inn and Webber’s Inn (hotel guest parking only) off Jackson Ave and the Miller Road Park & Ride.
- Downtown – West: Winter Classic Shuttle Buses will operate from one location on South 4th Avenue between East Liberty Street and East William Street adjacent to the Blake Transit Center. Shuttle buses will service fans that park in garages and lots on the West side of downtown and in proximity to the Blake Transit Center. These buses will have a quick, short trip to a bus drop off and post-game load zone on East Hoover Street on the North side of the Stadium.
On game day Winter Classic Shuttle wristbands can be purchased at participating hotels, from attendants at the Miller Rd and Plymouth Rd Park & Ride lots, attendants at the Blake Transit Stop, S. Thayer & N. University Stop, Church Street Stop and the Briarwood Mall. Participating hotels with questions may contact Steve Poulsen at SP Plus Gameday at email@example.com or by calling 801-420-1384.
2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®
The fun begins on New Year’s Day starting at 9am outside Gate 1 at the University of Michigan Football Stadium. The NHL Spectator Plaza will be open from 9am to 1pm for everyone (a ticket to the Winter Classic is not required) and will feature live music, food and beverages, and interactive hockey-themed attractions for the whole family. The pre-game ceremonies begin in the stadium at 1pm. For tickets, visit nhl.com. Tickets are limited and prices will vary.
The NHL Winter Classic (www.nhl.com/winterclassic) site provides the most up-to-date information about driving, parking, and tickets. Links to Visit Ann Arbor are available at the bottom of the page (see image below for an example).
Special arrangements are being made for The Puck Stops here event in Ann Arbor, including:
- Most places are open on New Year’s Eve, but you can find a list of dining packages and specials here. Many local restaurants and businesses are extending their hours to accommodate the needs of out of town visitors, but look at the full listings for additional options.
- The most up-to-date transportation details are available at the bottom of the page at www.nhl.com/winterclassic.