First came the news that all NHL games through the month of November were canceled. Now, according to several league sources, the NHL is possibly on the verge of cancelling the 2013 Winter Classic.
The NHL and the NHLPA are currently at a major stalemate since the last time the two sides met on Oct. 18 and not only does it seem unlikely for hockey’s most exciting regular season game to be played, but there is also no time table set for the two sides to sit down and meet again.
Since its inception in 2008, the Winter Classic has been one of the most anticipated and popular games throughout the entire season, sometimes even rivaling the television ratings of the Stanley Cup Finals. This season, the game was scheduled to take place in the University of Michigan‘s football stadium, nicknamed the “Big House,” which holds a capacity crowd of well over 110,000. The game was set to have the hometown Detroit Red Wings face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but like some of the NHL season, it seems as if it will not be taking place.
The NHL rented the venue from Michigan for the game for a reported $3 million and are scheduled to make a $250,000 payment on Friday, but if the league cancels by Friday, then they would not be responsible for making that payment and would have only lost the initial $100,000 down payment made in February.
The NHL last rejected the union’s trio of counter proposals following a proposal for a 50-50 split of hockey related revenue and a possible 82-game schedule. The NHL, NHLPA and hockey fans everywhere need to get their Snickers out because no one will be going anywhere for a while.