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“The logistical demands for staging events of this magnitude made today’s decision unavoidable,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “We simply are out of time. We are extremely disappointed, for our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival events.”
However, the state of Michigan won’t be left out in the cold.
This includes the marquee matchup between the Red Wings and Leafs.
Given the ongoing lockout, the NHL made the decision to scrap its big outdoor game because “the league was not in a position to do all that is necessary to adequately stage events of this magnitude.”
“We want to thank Maple Leafs fans for their support, patience and understanding during CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA,” said Tom Anselmi, president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
“We know our fans were excited to see this historic Original Six outdoor encounter in a couple of months and we are disappointed for them. However, we know that the NHL remains committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the players and the member clubs, and one that will be good for the fans and our game.”
If the league had not cancelled the event Friday it would need to reimburse the university for any “out-of-pocket expenses reasonably occurred” in connection with the outdoor game.
Organizers were anticipating the game would topple the world record of 104,173 fans who took part in the “Big Chill” NCAA hockey game between Michigan and rival Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11, 2011.
John Collins, the NHL’s chief operation officer, said in February that the economic boom of the weeklong hockey events to Michigan’s southeast region — including Detroit and Ann Arbor — could exceed $ 75 million. That would amount to more than double the estimated $ 30 to $ 35 million host Philadelphia garnered last year.
The two sides haven’t formally met since Oct. 18 in Toronto.
“No meetings have been scheduled yet, but we have had an ongoing dialogue,” Daly wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.
If the charismatic broadcaster’s gloomy outlook becomes a reality, it would be the second time in eight years that a lockout would claim the entire NHL season.
With files from The Canadian Press
CBC | Sports News