NHL cancels 2013 Winter Classic

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The 2013 Winter Classic has been canceled.

The news comes prior to an official announcement from the league, but is based on a number of reports (including those from the Associated Press and ESPN.)

The cancelation of the game — which was to be played on Jan. 1, 2013 — is a blow on a variety of fronts:

— The event had already sold between 80,000-90,000 tickets, according to University of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

— Traditionally, the game has been a television ratings bonanza. Annual viewership has gone between a low of 3.7 million to a high of 4.57 million, tremendous numbers for hockey. The 2011 Caps-Pens Winter Classic was the most-watched regular season game in 36 years.

Detroit’s Hockeytown Winter Festival also falls by the wayside. The event was set to unfold over the course of two weeks, featuring amateur games, open skates, musical acts, the Great Lakes Invitational, an OHL doubleheader, an AHL game and the Red Wings-Maple Leafs alumni contests.

And for you optimists out there, some even worse news — there is no ‘resurrection’ plan for the Classic this season.

“I can certainly confirm that if the game is canceled, there is no ‘resurrection’ scenario for this year,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to the New York Times.

It’s obvious why the league would be forced to stick with its decision. Preparation for and execution of the Winter Classic is a massive undertaking — last year, rink-building preparations for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia began on Nov. 21, which was 42 days prior to puck drop.

But hey, if there is a glimmer of hope, Daly did say CBA talks will resume in the “relatively near future.”

Related

Ian White wonders why the NHL would want to play a season without the Winter Classic

Red Wings confirm — if there’s no Winter Classic, there’s no Hockeytown Winter Festival