The next stage of the NHL Lockout is complete. The NHL has announced that the big hockey game of the year, the NHL Winter Classic, that is played on January 1 of each year, has been cancelled for 2013. The game was slated for January 1, 2013 at Michigan University, a matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the six weeks since the lockout began, the work stoppage has caused the cancellation of hundreds of regular-season games, significant revenue loss and what may be irreversible damage to the game's reputation.
Friday, however, was the darkest day yet.
"It's definitely very disappointing," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "Not only was I looking forward to it but so were all my friends and family. It was going to be a great event not just for us but all the businesses and hotels and fans excited to see us and Toronto play."
A source familiar with the league's plan had told LeBrun the decision to cancel the game was green-lighted after a final internal meeting at NHL offices in New York on Friday morning. The league is expected to announce the cancellation on Friday afternoon.
It might be time to accept that hockey will not be back this season. In any regard, it will be interesting to watch next season the impact a second lockout in eight years will have on an already antsy fan base. The fact that the big cash cow game, the signature event that helps capture casual fans, was cancelled, speaks volumes to the divide that still exists between NHL Owenrs and the NHL Players Association.