ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The NHL has canceled the 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.
The signature event between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, is the latest casualty from the labor dispute that has put the season on hold, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the league had not yet announced the move, also said the NHL will schedule its next Winter Classic at the iconic stadium that seats more than 100,000 people.
There have been no labor 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.