Winter Classic Dead
The NHL's Winter Classic will die a quiet death today.
Later this afternoon, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will announce both the Jan. 1 game between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings and the two-week festival around that game, and the HBO 24/7 series, will all be cancelled because of the ongoing labour stalemate with the NHL Players Association.
There were reports today that the NHL was considering waiting for another two weeks to cancel the game. But league sources say that the logistics of the event, all the tickets and hotels and part-time workers required to hold events in two different locations, all conspired to make holding the event with less than 60 days to pull it off became impractical.
This was to be the first time a Canadian team was involved in the game, which has become one of the major marketing initiatives for the league in recent years.
No new talks are currently planned between the league and players, although there are suggestions that could change this weekend.