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Remembering epic Winter Classic finishes, as the 2013 edition is now…finished

Always a winner

Always a winner

The 2013 NHL Winter Classic has officially been cancelled. This comes as no surprise to anyone who’s followed the proceedings between the owners and NHLPA over the past weeks and months. Chances are, the entire season’s formal death notice is not far behind.

The biggest waste is, of course, the loss of an entire season. However, the pronouncement that the Winter Classic will not go on this year is just a symbolic reminder of how far and quickly things have devolved. The Classic is a case of great marketing gone right. A sterling example of a risk taken…and rewarded.

While I may not be the biggest of puckheads, I appreciate the game and all its greatness (particularly, its postseason which is second to none). I am also one of those who, despite not tuning in for a ton of regular season affairs, was a rather consistent viewer of the Winter Classic. Why? Really, how could you not be? Stunning spectacles. Historic venues. Traditional teams. Outdoors. Huge crowds. The game at its relatively stripped-down and “natural” best. And, oh yes, the recent addition of HBO’s 24/7 didn’t hurt either.

Unfortunately, it’s not to be in 2013…and, likely, neither is hockey. That’s a shame. Because the game had made a decent comeback and The Classic  has become a can’t-miss annual event that shows all the best of hockey and what it had managed to achieve since the lockout that stole the 2004-05 season. For now, let’s just enjoy the classic memories. One of those indelible ones for me is the game’s first Winter Classic in Orchard Park, NY. There are too many great things to note about this one. The shootout video below does a nice job of bringing you back. Drink it in.

OK, this one at Fenway wasn’t too shabby either.

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