|National Hockey League Players' Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Katie Strang and Craig Custance, ESPN.com --- The NHL also canceled all of the Winter Festival events scheduled for Dec. 16-31 at Comerica Park in Detroit.Can you imagine being one of the college hockey teams that was going to play outdoors in the winter classic for the Great Lakes Invitational? Actually, it would be a major downer to be one of those teams (Western Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech) that was set to play in Comercia Park on December 28-29, 2012. Now since the NHLPA and the NHL Owners can’t settle their differences this will be all for not. Of course, they moved the tourney indoors but it won’t be the same.
The league was tasked with a unique challenge this year in building two rinks -- one at "The Big House" and one at Comerica Park -- and has a contract with the former that requires the NHL to pay for any expenses occurred by the university if the event was canceled later than Nov. 2. The NHL also owed $250,000 of the $3 million rental fee on Nov. 2.
This is not believed to be the biggest deal-breaker, however.
The league did not want to host such an event without the usual bells and whistles -- HBO's "24/7"show documenting the event would've been virtually impossible to pull off -- and it did not want the pageantry of the event tainted by the work stoppage.
"That's one of those things that you were really looking forward to this year," said Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall. "Everyone here, not only the players but the fans. Everyone would be bummed out."