The Associated Press and TSN both reported that the NHL has privately canceled the 2013 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor today, and it was confirmed by the NHL’s official site just after 3:00 p.m. today.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that the league looks forward to hosting a future Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, provided there is a new deal between the players union and the owners finalized by that time.
Per the TSN article on the subject, the league’s payment plan with the University of Michigan is the reason for today’s cancellation; the NHL was to pay the school $250,000 by Nov. 2. The NHL would then have to pay Michigan $1 million on Dec. 7 and on Dec. 28, then $650,000 on Jan. 18.
Last week MiHockey reported that if the Winter Classic is canceled, so to is the Hockeytown Winter Festival in Detroit, which was to feature the Great Lakes Invitational college games, juniors games, an AHL game, alumni games between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, and youth and high school hockey games. The league’s release confirmed that, as well.
The NHL’s full release is below:
NEW YORK — The National Hockey League today announced the cancellation of the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The game was scheduled for Jan. 1 between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition, the League announced all SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival events scheduled for Dec. 16-31 at Comerica Park in Detroit are cancelled.
The next NHL Winter Classic – featuring the Red Wings and Maple Leafs – and Hockeytown Winter Festival will take place at the University of Michigan and Comerica Park, respectively. Those who have purchased tickets for the 2012-13 events can either receive refunds or maintain their tickets for the future events. Ticket refund information for the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival can be found at: nhl.com/winterclassicrefund.
The cancellation was necessary because, given the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL, the League was not in a position to do all that is necessary to adequately stage events of this magnitude. This year’s Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and the companion SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival called for the construction of major outdoor rink facilities at both Comerica Park and ‘The Big House’. Multiple games involving teams from the NHL, NCAA, American Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, high school and local minor hockey leagues were scheduled, requiring travel and hotel commitments. Beyond the construction of two major outdoor rink facilities, the combined events were preparing to welcome nearly 400,000 guests to Detroit and Ann Arbor over the holiday period.
“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.”
“We look forward to bringing the next Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival to Michigan,” Daly added.
Some of the tweets about the news:
Tweets about the breaking news