NHL lockout: Leafs-Wings Winter Classic could die in November

The NHL’s New Year’s Day Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings is on the chopping block, a potential early victim of the lockout.

A league source told the Star that, barring a settlement, commissioner Gary Bettman plans to cancel it in November — to take away any advantage the players may have at the bargaining table because of the game’s popularity.

“Gary told (the board of governors) he was going to cancel the Winter Classic in November because he didn’t want the players to use the game as leverage,” the source said.

A source close to the players said the NHLPA had heard the same thing.

“It’s a scare tactic,” the union source said. “It just proves the NHL has no intention of negotiating any time soon.”

If the NHL season were to begin in mid- to late November, it would leave plenty of time to stage and hype the Classic — including HBO’s successful 24/7 series, a behind-the-scenes look at the teams involved. The event at the University of Michigan’s football stadium — known as The Big House — would draw a crowd of around 100,000 and has traditionally been a ratings hit in Canada and the U.S.


6 Responses to NHL lockout: Leafs-Wings Winter Classic could die in November

  1. toronto77 says:

    Bettman’s a dick! throw him out of office.

  2. reinjosh says:

    Will the NHL risk losing the HBO show that has proven to be a huge winner in the US? Much less a game that is bound to bring in a tremendous amount of cash? I think not. My guess is lockout ends sometimes around late November, early November. Football season is coming to a closeish, meaning TV numbers will be available (NBC won’t be livid), HBO and Winter Classic still a go.

    • mojo19 says:

      I hope you’re right. I have Winter Classic tickets, I would hate to not go.

      I think they’ll sort it out. Also they were mentioning on the radio today that the Illitch family is quietly hoping to resolve this lockout, with a little more angst than some of the other owners, because they are due to make a killing off of the winter classic and everything that goes along with it.

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