Canadians will have to wait another year for one of their beloved teams to join the few in the ranks of participants in the NHL’s annual Winter Classic event. The NHL announced today that the annual outdoor event that pits two rival teams on the back drop of winter has been cancelled, due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement and now time to successfully stage the event.
With the Winter Classic gone – there is little hope left for the remaining games of the regular season. I doubt, even if negotiations restart this weekend, that any NHL action will be played, and that the Stanley Cup – will not be presented for the second time in ten years.
There seems to be some movement between the NHL and NHLPA – and after the internet uproar over the quick cancelling of the Winter Classic – the league could be finally moving towards the players position at a pace which will make the NHLPA happy.
The NHL still has more than enough time to pull off a Winter Classic – today’s cancellation is nothing more than the league using a bargaining chip to squeeze the players into playing the game. Its unfortunate because its the biggest chip the NHL has left. With only 23 home dates salvageable for the partial season – as was played the last time the league hacked a chunk of games from the schedule – the revenue the league owners and players are throwing out the door by continuing to cancel games.
While the NHL might be enticing players back to the bargaining table through the “Make It Whole” offer – they are not doing many things to make things whole for the average fan – who is day-by-day getting more alienated than ever before.
Fans with tickets to the Winter Classic or any other NHL event that was supposed to take place in Detroit – can ask the league for a refund or hold their tickets in reserve for when the event is played, whenever the NHL wants to start playing again – and reschedules the Winter Classic.