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Winter Classic 2013: NHL not visiting Ann Arbor, cancellation fears grow

NHL staff have no future plans to visit Ann Arbor, making many fearful that the ongoing NHL lockout is threatening the 2013 Winter Classic.

Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

Officials from the NHL Operations department currently have no plans to visit Ann Arbor, causing many to fear that the 2013 Winter Classic is in danger of being cancelled. The game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs is set to be played at Michigan Stadium, and could see an attendance as high as 115,000. However, the longer the lockout goes, the more likely it is that the Winter Classic will become a casualty to the battle between the owners and players.

If the 2013 Winter Classic is cancelled, it's expected that the plans will be pushed back and the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will play in Ann Arbor in 2014.

NHL staff visited the site in September, and were scheduled to return in October to do logistics scouting to help prepare for the event. However, the first two weeks of the season have been cancelled, and there's little hope of a quick resolution to the situation.

Aside from the game in Ann Arbor, the Winter Festival in downtown Detroit is also in danger of falling through. The Festival is supposed to include high school games, Ontario Hockey League games, the Great Lakes Invitational, and the NHL Alumni game.