We all saw it coming, what with the fact that the league began informing sponsors of the Winter Classic's cancellation Friday morning (and also the fact that nothing is happening in CBA talks), but it's now officially official: The 2013 Winter Classic is dead.
The NHL has sent out a statement to that effect, and while it's exactly as depressing as expected, it comes with at least a small consolation for dejected Red Wings and Maple Leaf fans: The two teams will still get the next outdoor game, at the same place, in 2014:
Here's the statement:
The National Hockey League today announced the cancellation of the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The game was scheduled for Jan. 1 between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition, the League announced all SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival events scheduled for Dec. 16-31 at Comerica Park in Detroit are cancelled.
The next NHL Winter Classic — featuring the Red Wings and Maple Leafs -- and Hockeytown Winter Festival will take place at the University of Michigan and Comerica Park, respectively. Those who have purchased tickets for the 2012-13 events can either receive refunds or maintain their tickets for the future events. Ticket refund information for the 2013 Bridgestone
NHL Winter Classic and SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival can be found at: nhl.com/winterclassicrefund.
Pause. Horrifying moment of syntax: The statement only says the Red Wings and Leafs will get the "next" Winter Classic. It doesn't say the 2014 Classic, because who the hell knows how long this lockout is going to go on?
OK, carrying on:
[...] "The logistical demands for staging events of this magnitude made today's decision unavoidable. We simply are out of time," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "We are extremely disappointed, for our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival events."
"We look forward to bringing the next Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival to Michigan," Daly added.
As the statement says, if ticket holders are still looking forward to the Winter Classic in Michigan as well, their tickets will transfer over. But the NHL will also be issuing refunds for those unwilling to wait.
It will be interesting to see how many get refunds and how many hold them.
Ticket holders: Are you willing to wait? Or is today's cancellation enough for you to walk away?
Finally, while there's nothing wrong with the syntax of the NHL's statement, I guess, I would have preferred something a little more Nietzschean. Might I suggest the following as an alternate statement:
The Winter Classic is dead. The Winter Classic remains dead. And we have killed it. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to cancel later on? Is not the stupidity of this deed too great for us?
And the answer to that final question is, of course: apparently not.
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