Winter Classic

The NHL lockout forced the cancellation of the 2013 Winter Classic.

This weekend, downtown Detroit should have been filled with hockey fans enjoying the Hockeytown Winter Festival and buzzing about the NHL Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day. But alas, the NHL lockout forced the cancellation of both events, robbing people in Detroit and across North America of what has become a major event.

Joe Louis Arena

Joe Louis Arena has sat empty because of the NHL lockout.

The lockout is now more than three months old and, as of this writing, has led to the cancellation of 21 Red Wings home games at Joe Louis Arena, in addition to the Winter Classic. As you can imagine, that’s hurting businesses around the arena that depend on customers stopping in before or after games, as well as others throughout Detroit that rely on people coming in to watch the games with friends. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau says each game generates $1.9 million in economic impact downtown.

While there will be die-hard fans who will show up to games and follow their team no matter what, not all fans are so forgiving. According to the Detroit News, there’s been a noticeable long-term drop in the amount of fans who feel “passionate” about the NHL. Which segment do you fall into? Are you a die-hard Wings fan who will be at the Joe whenever they drop the puck next, whether it’s in a few weeks or next October? Or have you lost interest because of another prolonged work stoppage in the NHL? Or do you just not care either way?

Red Wings fans at bar

Normally this time of year, bars and restaurants are filled with Red Wings fans.

Whatever category you belong to, one thing you can do to help minimize the damage is to go to your local watering hole or your favorite restaurant and have dinner or a couple drinks with your friends. The place could probably use some extra business, especially if they’re normally packed with Red Wings fans this time of year.

If you normally go to Red Wings games or watch them at sports bars, what have you been doing instead with your free time? Are you following the Lions or Pistons more closely? Are you spending your “entertainment dollars” differently or just saving that money? Let us know in the comments section below.

–Scott

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