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Winter Classic becomes latest casualty of NHL lockout


ANN ARBOR (WQLR) -- According to a source close to the situation, the 2013 Winter Classic has been cancelled in the wake of the ongoing NHL labor dispute.

The AP source spoke on the condition of annonymity since an official announcement has not been released by the league.

What began as an homage to hockey's outdoor roots has blossomed into a marquee event for the National Hockey League, drawing record crowds at historic outdoor venues like Boston's Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in Chicago. The NHL drew a historic number at the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 when 71,217 hockey fans watched the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

This year's Classic was to represent Hockeytown as well as Canada, pitting the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as their minor league affiliates at Comerica Park. 200,000-plus were expected at the "Big House" to see CCHA powerhouse teams Western Michigan, Michigan and Michigan State do battle in the conference's final season. 2010's matchup between the Wolverines and Spartans drew a crowd of 104,173. 

Last week, the NHL cancelled all of the previously scheduled games through the end of November.