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Posted on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Associated Press: NHL cancels Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium

By Pete Cunningham


According to the Associated Press, the 2013 Winter Classic will be cancelled on Friday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Go ahead with your usual New Year's Day planning Ann Arbor. There will be no hockey game at Michigan Stadium to look forward, The Associated Press reported Friday.

A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press that the NHL has canceled the 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the league had not yet announced the cancellation of one of its signature events. The source also said the NHL will schedule its next Winter Classic at the iconic Ann Arbor stadium.

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The world record for attendance at a hockey game will remain at 104,173, set at the outdoor game between Michigan and Michigan State in 2010, if the Winter Classic is cancelled.

The expected announcement would end weeks of speculation about the fate of the annual New Year's Day outdoor game, which was to be played between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. The game was expected to draw more than 114,000 fans to the Big House, which would have been a world record for attendance at a hockey game. The NHL had also previously stated plans to break Michigan Stadium's attendance record of 114,804.

The NHL locked out its players six weeks ago after the two sides could not reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The ensuing lockout caused the cancelation of all games through the end of November last Friday which amped up the expectation that the league's marquee event would soon be on the chopping block.

That expectation is expected to become a reality on Friday, The AP reported

According to the NHL's contract with the University of Michigan, $250,000 plus any expenses incurred by the school in preparation for the game would have been due to the school at the end of the day Friday in addition to the $100,000 already due. The total payment due to the school were the event to happen would equal $3 million.

Spinoff revenue from previous Winter Classics in Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have been reported to be between $22 and $36 million, far more than the $14 million generated from Michigan home football games.

Officials with the University of Michigan athletic department could not be reached for comment, but on Monday said no word had been passed down from the NHL.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for



Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

there may very well not be an NHL season this year.Certain contracts had to be signed in a timely fashion.not knowing whether there would be a CBA the game had to be canceled UNFORTUNATELY.Will b back next year though.


Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Why doesn't UM get busy and set up a college event to take the place of the cancelled event? Perhaps patrons would not cancel their accommodations and still come?

Pete Cunningham

Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

Mr. G-Man, UM officials have maintained throughout this process that one of the most appealing parts of this event is that they benefit ($3 million rental fee, spinoff revenue, positive PR, etc.) without basically doing anything but unlocking the doors. Jan. 1 is a dead time on campus and if the Michigan football team is playing in a bowl game most resources and staff will be tied up attending to that. Not saying UM can't or won't host large scale hockey events at the Big House again in the future, but they'll need more than 60 days notice to do all the planning and set everything up. The Big Chill, for example, took many, many months of preparations.


Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

"Looking forward to" and "hockey" used togethers seems kinda oxymoronic. ;-) Hockey is just another form of sports entertainment - the kind, according to the fans themselves, which leaves blood on the ice. How charming. "The NHL locked out its players six weeks ago after the two sides could not reach a new collective bargaining agreement. "–– When someone has the genius to recognize that they can take in millions by providing entertainment to the masses - and then realizes that the workers they employ want a larger share of those millions, things always get nasty. Why can't these young male athletes accept a "reasonable wage" for ruining their bodies for the sake of this entertainment?? They only make an average $2.4 million per year, so compared to the team owners, getting more would encourage more of our youth to aspire to this, uh, "noble pursuit." (Now watch the "thumbs down" votes pour in.) ;-)

Ann English

Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

This cancellation makes me wonder how the New York Islanders may move to Buffalo sooner. Was their ice arena damaged by Hurricane Sandy? The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins have no plans to move. With no hockey season underway, we're only hearing how Hurricane Sandy has affected the NBA teams in New York, New Jersey and Boston.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

There are lease specifics that will keep the Islanders on the same schedule no matter how long the lockout lasts. The new stadium is in Brooklyn, not Buffalo. Buffalo already has the Sabres.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Total shame. Just think of what fun it would have been and definitely would have been good for the economy. Shameful.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

The NHL owners and Gary Bettman should be ashamed of themselves. Two lockouts in less than a decade tells me that the league does not really care about fan base. Obviously with a lockout, the owners aren't making any money, but are willing to starve off the fans, the players (in a manner of speaking), and the various businesses that rely on hockey games to bring in revenue, just so that the owners can eventually have their way. I encourage fans to boycott any games when they finally start back up. I have been a lifelong hockey fan, but perhaps not anymore. The NHL can kiss its "fan base" in the south goodbye.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

What a disappointment. All this money will not be spent in our city this year. What a shame.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

Both sides are getting exactly what they deserve here. The University should take this opportunity to discuss the importance of strong collective bargaining rights - the sort that leads to "between $22 and $36 million" in lost spinoff revenue. This is what we mean by creating a "stronger America" which helps "grow our economy."


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

@garrisondyer - Only the money makes a difference, and since that's all you see, it's all you'll understand. On a side note, I'll bet if you asked a professional hockey player if he "worked for a living," he'd probably respond to you with something along the lines of "I likely work harder than you do." So I cringe at the characterization of "working class" as being some sort of person who works for low wages. I get up daily and go to work, just like 92.1% of the country does. My work, or the work of a professional hockey player, is no less valued or worthwhile simply because wages greater than the minimum are involved.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

@GoNavy, there are too many differences between working class unions and millionaire professional athletes' unions to make this connection.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

When millionaires argue with billionaires about money, only the fans lose.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

Macabre, I agree. :-)


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of hockey per se, but I'm a big fan of between $22 and $36 million in spinoff revenue for the SE Michigan region.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

Oh darn. No traffic jams on New Years Day.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

drewk, you don't have anywhere to be on NYD.

greg, too

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Or $22-36 million in revenue to the city and it's businesses. For that, I would have just avoided the area and been fine with the traffic.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

I guess I'll have to sit around eating chili and drinking beer and NOT watching hockey.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

You probably know this but NHL tv is showing OHL games. They are not bad!

Moms Kitchen

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

More importantly (at least to me) does this mean that the GLI moves back indoors at the Joe and the Hockeytown Winterfest is canceled, too?


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Golfer, To the contrary, after the 2004-05 lockout, both revenues and attendance at hockey games increased. In fact, after the 2004-05 lockout, the league set record attendance levels at games, and earned record revenues. The NHL absolutely didn't lose fans during the last lockout, which is exactly why we're being treated to another one this year.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

yes from what i hear it will go to the joe.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

If the Winter Classic is canceled the GLI will be moved back two days (from Dec. 27,28 to Dec. 29, 30) and played at Joe Louis Arena a per usual. Here's our story on that subject from Monday:


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

December is the month to watch. this is the first step that the season will go down the tubes. hockey was not a big fan favorite. last time they lost lots of fans. this time more will be lost. so good luck on hockey this year. NONE...


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Well, this is truly a disappointment. I've been a die-hard Detroit Red Wings and hockey-in-general fan my whole life, as I'm sure many of you are as well. I really hope the season can begin sometime soon after November 30. This lockout is depressing!


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.



Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

This year without hockey could signal the end of the NHL. UM should bring in a couple of top OHL teams to play. It would still be fun!


Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

OHL doesn't quite have the drawing power of the NHL though.


Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

ypsilivin, you are dead wrong last time it took 2-3 yrs before the fans started coming back to games. Maybe not in Detroit but other venues. As a matter of fact some venues are still hurting.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

AHL is above the OHL...


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 7 p.m.

I am betting that some of the smaller markets will be gone. They already claimed to be losing money. Been watching OHL on NHL stuff.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

This wont be the end of the NHL. more like the end of Gary Bettman's career. And if they did ever go the route of having teams from another league it would be from the AHL. You couldn't come close to filling half the stadium with fans following OHL teams.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

sorry cash. i do not agree with this remark. it will hurt it big time but not the end.