NHL officially cancels Winter Classic
The NHL lockout has claimed one of the league's marquee events.
The Jan. 1 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium was called off by the league on Friday.
It follows the cancellation of all regular-season games through Nov. 30.
The NHL says the teams will instead play outdoors in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 1, 2014.
The Winter Classic has grown into a popular event since first being held in 2008 and the Maple Leafs-Red Wings matchup had been billed as the biggest yet.
By cancelling the game, the NHL forfeited a US$100,000 deposit already paid to the University of Michigan. It would have been on the hook for other expenses to the school if it was called off later on.
Still no end in sight to the lockout
There have been no labour negotiations since Oct. 18, when the players' union countered a league offer with three proposals.
Those were all quickly rejected by the NHL. Since then, a league-imposed deadline to play a full season has passed, and the NHL cancelled all games through Nov. 30.
Detroit and Toronto, two of the league's Original Six teams, were scheduled to play outdoors on Jan. 1 at the stadium known as the Big House and the league was hoping the matchup would break the world record for hockey attendance. Michigan and Michigan State's hockey teams drew a record 104,173 fans in 2010.
Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have all hosted the Winter Classic, but the crowd for a game at Michigan
Stadium was expected to draw the league's largest crowd.
The last Classic at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park drew 46,967, and the New York Rangers beat the host Flyers 3-2.