The stadium was packed, nary an empty seat in sight at the NHL’s 2014 Winter Classic at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., but the NHL won’t get the Guinness world record for hockey attendance despite selling enough tickets to break the record.
The league sold 105,491 tickets for the New Year’s Day matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings — enough to break the Guinness record of 104,173, but the margin between the number of tickets sold and number of butts in the seats was thin, according to Yahoo! Sports. The NHL announced the number of tickets sold because it couldn’t complete an accurate count.
Frigid, snowy conditions made getting to the game difficult, and fans were still entering the stadium into the second period — after the ticket-takers had stopped scanning ticket stubs.
The league and Guinness had agreed on a pre-approved accounting method beforehand, choosing to go with a barcoded ticket system. Guinness had an official on site, who said he could count only fans whose tickets were scanned, plus media and officials who came only to watch the game.
The current record of 104,173 fans at a hockey game was set in 2010 when Michigan played Michigan State at the Big House.