The N.H.L. can cancel the Jan. 1 Winter Classic at 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium as late as Jan. 1, the day of the game, because of a work stoppage “arising from the lack of a collective bargaining agreement,” the contract between the league and the University of Michigan shows.
The league would forfeit only $100,000 of its $3 million stadium rental fee, according to the contract. The rest of the fee would be refunded by the university.
The N.H.L.-Michigan contract stipulates that the league forfeit $100,000 if it cancels the Winter Classic before Nov. 3. On Nov. 3 or after, a cancellation would cost the league $100,000 and any expenses incurred by the university in connection to the game.
Basically, it doesn't cost the league much more to cancel the game closer to the date than it does to cancel it now. As Sean Gentille on Twitter points out: "Nov. 3 is the first Classic deadline, and it'd cost the league 1/5th of a fourth-liner. They'd overshoot that by six days? Not buying it."
Is the report that the Winter Classic will be cancelled on Monday a false report or a threat by the NHL? Would they actually go through with it? Especially when they don't "need" to?