If there’s a bright side for Red Wings and Maple Leafs fans now that the 2013 Winter Classic’s been canceled, it’s this:
The NHL will try to make up for it in 2014.
That’s the word from the Associated Press today as reports claim the league will re-schedule the Detroit-Toronto game for Jan. 1, 2014, to be played at Michigan Stadium.
It’s no surprise the NHL would make this move.
To take the game away from Detroit/Michigan and not give it back would be a public relations nightmare. Aside from the prestige of hosting such an event, there’s a business side to the Classic as well — last year, the NHL estimated the game in Philadelphia brought in an economic impact of $30-$35 million.
“It would have a tremendous impact,” Detroit Sports Commission executive director Dave Beachnau said of the 2013 Winter Classic. “That time of the year, which is traditionally a slower period for downtown hotels and the region from a visitors’ perspective, certainly it’d be a great shot in the arm.”
There’s also a number of ancillary events falling by the wayside.
The Hockeytown Winter Festival was supposed to be a celebration of all levels of hockey — collegiate, junior and American league — and the rosters for the annual alumni game were flooded with legends and Hall of Famers
But the Red Wings confirmed last week that if there’s no Winter Classic, there’s no Winter Festival.
So while Detroit is probably pleased (okay, maybe not the right word) it’ll eventually get its game, another city’s probably less enthused with the report:
The Wild have been aiming to host a Classic at Target Field (or TCF Bank Stadium) for some time.
Shortly after this summer’s signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, owner Craig Leipold spoke with league officials about having acquired the “star power” needed to host the league’s biggest televised game.
“Obviously we didn’t hire those two guys for the Winter Classic, but it certainly enhanced our position as being a great market to do it,” Leipold told the St. Paul Business Journal. “I think we had a very good case to have the Winter Classic before these two guys. Now I feel like we’ve got the best case possible.”
Well, maybe the best case for 2015…