With the cancelation of the Winter Classic due to the NHL Lockout, one of the league’s greatest accomplishments is washed out. The Winter Classic has taken a piece of New Years Day with its outdoor game over the last five years. The day once designated for the Rose Bowl Parade and subsequent college football bowl games, became hockey’s showcase with as many as four and a half million viewers . With the cancelation of this year’s Classic, look for college football to take the day back next year.
The college football playoff is set to start on New Years of 2014, the day the next Winter Classic would likely be scheduled if the lockout is over. This much anticipated event will likely steal a lot of the NHL’s feature game’s thunder. Without a product this year, that game will be forgotten.
The Winter Classic is the NHL’s only big event except for the playoffs. The NBA controls Christmas, MLB has the Fourth of July and the NFL has Thanksgiving Day. This game was the NHL’s chance to stay in the holiday arena, but the lockout negates that.
If the owners think that the profits will come flowing back once the game resumes, the Winter Classic should be their warning. Yes, people are upset about the game being canceled, but not outraged. The apathy towards the NHL is so strong that this is seen as just another step to a lost season. The winter is already crowded with sports including college and pro football and basketball. That period between the Super Bowl and baseball Opening Day may be a little rough, but otherwise, the alternatives to the NHL are bountiful. From now on, let’s just call it the outdoor game, there is nothing Classic about the NHL anymore.