The 2013 Winter Classic is officially, positively gone. The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs won't be playing outdoors at Michigan Stadium on New Years Day.
The NHL announced the cancellation of their annual winter showcase on Friday, just 46 days into the 2012 NHL lockout and two months in advance of the Jan. 1 game. The Leafs and Red Wings will meet at the stadium for the "next" Winter Classic, the league said.
The cancellation of the Winter Classic seems premature as financial concerns are still at least a month away from being a pressing matter, but reports claim that the league was concerned about how the Classic would be viewed as part of a shortened season. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly cited logistical concerns for the early cancellation of the game.
Canceling the game eliminates the NHL's biggest annual revenue generator and many believe that there's no reason the league will go on with the 2012-13 season now that the Classic has been wiped out.
Losing the Winter Classic also means the cancellation of the Hockeytown Winter Festival, scheduled for Dec. 15-31 at Detroit's Comerica Park. The Great Lakes Invitational, a college hockey tournament featuring several Michigan teams, the annual Winter Classic Alumni Game, an Ontario Hockey League doubleheader and an AHL game between the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins are all casualties of the Festival's cancellation.