NHL Argues Over Odd Billion As Fans Risk Thousands on Winter Classic

So you are a hardened Detroit Red Wings fan or a mad Toronto Maple Leafs fan therefore there is only one place to be on New Years Day 2013. So you will have had your hotel booked and travel tickets locked away safely so now you just need to check the website a couple of hundred times a day to see when you can register for the ticket lottery.

But now the NHL and the NHLPA have had a little spat and there is a very real chance that there will be a lockout. But what about all that money you have spent on getting to Ann Arbour. Having spoken to travel insurers it appears that if the NHL lockout occurs these die hard fans could be paying the cost.

Travel insurance will likely not cover the cost of hotels or travel to the game should it be cancelled. Only package deals would be covered by standard travel insurance where by the tickets, hotel and travel have been booked together.

Hockey fans have stuck by the NHL and Gary Bettman through expansion, numerous rule changes, format changes and 2 lockouts already. Fans returned in there droves to see the ‘new’ NHL post the 2004 lockout. The chances to the All Star game, Premier Europe series and the Winter Classic/ Heritage Classic have been massive successes not only within NHL circles but the wider hockey and sports community as well. But this time it is different.

Hardcore fans, the season ticket holders and life long followers now facing possibility of losing their money at a time when money is in short supply the tides could well turn on the league, teams and players. These are the fans that normally would stick by their team through everything and for the Toronto Maple Leafs in particular there has been a lot of everything recently. Cancelling the Winter Classic whilst the NHL and the players argues over how to divide millions of dollars whilst the fans lose their money will prove to be disastrous for the NHL. A gage as to how seriously the NHL is taking this is that despite it being past 1st August registration for the ticket lottery has still not opened.

The Big House, Ann Arbour due to host the 2013 Winter Classic

The effect could be similar to that of the MLB lockout in 1994. Post lockout attendances fell from across the board including the World Series champions. The Atlanta Braves lost on average 11,000 fans per game in 1995 and the Yankees just 28,000 per game. Then it took 4 years for revenues to reach pre lock out levels.

The best advice if you are thinking of travelling to the game at the University of Michigan then is not to book anything until it is confirmed that there will not be lockout and wait at least until registration for the ticket lottery opens before making plans. The same advice stands if you are thinking of going to another game this season.

If you have already made arrangements to travel to the game in Ann Arbour then check with your travel insurance to see if you can reclaim any money for hotel or travel bookings should the game be cancelled.

Good or bad we will try to update on information on the Winter Classic on our Winter Classic Guide Page and via our Facebook site where you can have your say.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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