Earlier today the NHL announced that it would cancel the 2013 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. The event was supposed to take place at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor, Michigan; however, a labor dispute between the NHL and NHLPA has forced its demise.
Fans who purchased tickets to the event will be issued a full refund.
“The logistical demands for staging events of this magnitude made today’s decision unavoidable. We simply are out of time,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “We are extremely disappointed, for our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival events.” (via NHL.com)
The Winter Classic idea was introduced in 2001 when Michigan and Michigan State played in Spartan Stadium in what was known as “The Cold War”. The first regular season hockey game to be played outdoors was in 2008 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. In that game, Sidney Crosby scored the game winning goal in the shootout to lift the Penguins, and perhaps the NHL, out of the fog of a 2005 season lockout.
Now the league faces the same issue as before with the Winter Classic and all NHL games up to November 30th being cancelled.
The good news is that both sides are planning on meeting this weekend to discuss the finer points of the labor dispute. Both the NHL and NHLPA agree with the 50/50 split in revenue sharing that the league put forward a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, that was all they seemed to agree on. The NHLPA submitted three separate proposals to find some common ground. All were rejected by the league office.
Negotiations are always good news for a league suffering from a work stoppage and with the revenue sharing issue close to being finalized, the NHL may finally reach the beginning of the end of the lockout.
Photo courtesy of Espn 1005