Harlem Globetrotters to play on ice

We didn’t get to see the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs outdoors at the Big House on New Year’s Day, but soon we’ll have a chance to witness the next best thing.

Or, in this case, the next weirdest thing.

Jan. 6, in Portage, Mich., just outside of Kalamazoo, there will be an outdoor basketball game — on ice. The game will feature the team that has played just about everywhere else, the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Globetrotters will face off against Global Select team at noon on the ice rink at Portage’s Millennium Park. The next night, the Globetrotters will play a more traditional game at Kalamazoo’s Wings Stadium.

“We hope the NHL can return to the ice as quickly as possible,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “But in the meantime, we thought the Globetrotters could help fill the void of professional sporting events on an ice surface.  And it’s only fitting we play this outdoor game in Michigan, as our tour continues in Kalamazoo the next day.”  

The Globetrotters have played more than 26,000 games during the last 76 years, including games in an empty swimming pool, in prisons, in bullrings, the Vatican and Moscow. Surprisingly, this is at least the second time they’ve played on ice.

The Globetrotters will don hockey helmets and special cleated basketball shoes for the ice game, and will get special advice from former Red Wings player Kevin Miller.

The game is open to the public and free, pending availability of seats and standing room at Millennium Park.