On Friday, the NHL officially announced the cancellation of
its annual Winter Classic game, as the league and its players continue to be
embroiled in a labor dispute that threatens the season.
This year's game was to be held at Michigan Stadium in Ann
Arbor, Mich., between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. It would
have been the first time a Canadian team took part in the annual outdoor hockey
showcase. The two teams will now play in next season's Winter Classic, to be held at
the same location.
"The logistical demands for staging events of this
magnitude made today's decision unavoidable. We simply are out of time,"
said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. "We are extremely disappointed, for
our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and
Hockeytown Winter Festival events."
The annual New Year's Day game is one of the highlights of
the NHL schedule, usually drawing the league's biggest ratings during the season.
Last year's game on NBC was the most watched regular season game in 36 years.
HBO also has a Road to the Winter Classic version of its popular 24/7