Arguably the greatest transgression of the NHL lockout was the cancellation of the Winter Classic. The fan-favorite New Years Day event was to pit the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. The match-up of two of the Original 6 teams was likely to establish a new record for attendance for a hockey game. The current record was established at the Big House in a collegiate game when Michigan hosted Michigan State in December of 2010 (113,411).
The good news is that the game is back on for 2014. Once again Michigan Stadium will be the host of the Winter Classic as the Red Wings host the Maple Leafs as reported by Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. The question is, will fans forgive the NHL and turn out in record numbers on New Years Day 2014?
As a resident of Ann Arbor, and a fan of unique stadium experiences, it will be difficult for me to resist the draw of the outdoor hockey game, so I will likely be in attendance. But there are NHL fans that will bear a grudge and stay away from this year's classic. This game will be a clear litmus test of whether or not all is forgiven between the NHL and its fans.