Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Matt Hendricks plays a shot for the Washington Capitals during the 2011 Winter Classic.
Matt Hendricks plays a shot for the Washington Capitals during the 2011 Winter Classic.

NHL: Winter Classic plans frozen out by ongoing labour dispute

The New Year's Day fixture between Detroit and Toronto has been scrapped as the dispute between hockey chiefs and players remains in place.

The traditional Winter Classic hockey event has become the latest casualty of the bitter labour dispute between National Hockey League owners and players.

The New Year's Day game, featuring rival sides the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, had been scheduled for the University of Michigan's football stadium in Ann Arbor and a potential NHL record crowd of more than 110,000 fans.

But with negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement at a standstill, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly made the announcement that the game was off.

"The logistical demands for staging events of this magnitude made today's decision unavoidable. We simply are out of time," Daly said.

"We are extremely disappointed, for our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival events."

The classic joined hundreds of regular season games already cancelled since the league locked out players in September.

The NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) blamed both on league owners.

"The NHL's decision to cancel the Winter Classic is unnecessary and unfortunate, as was the owners' implementation of the lockout itself," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement.

"The fact that the season has not started is a result of a unilateral decision by the owners; the players have always been ready to play while continuing to negotiate in good faith."

Fehr called on the league to make a quick return to the bargaining table.

Many had speculated the Winter Classic would have marked the resumption of NHL play.

Now, with a final deadline for cancelling the entire season looming, perhaps early in the new year, the league could be facing the loss of its second season in eight years.

The season was to start on Oct. 11 and a week ago the league scrapped all games until Nov. 30.

It is the fifth time in 20 years the NHL has been stopped because of a labour dispute. The last was in 2004-05, when the entire season was wiped out.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab bowling in the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday. Pawan Singh / The National / April 20, 2014

IPL Day 5 action in Sharjah

Images from the fifth day of the Indian Premier League in the UAE on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with eight balls remaining.

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National