The NHL CBA negotiations have claimed their first victims. The Detroit Red Wings have canceled, in whole, the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. This was not unexpected, but is still completely disappointing. It is also just another sign that neither side likely sees a deal being reached anytime soon.
From the Red Wings' website:
With the uncertainty of a player lockout looming in 30 days, the Red Wings have decided to cancel next month's NHL prospects tournament, which has annually been held in Traverse City since 1998.
Out of respect for the northern Michigan community and the eight teams and their prospects, Wings general manager Ken Holland indicated that cancelling the four-day event now is in the best interest for everyone. The tournament was to begin on Sept. 15, the same day that the current collective bargaining agreement expires.
More after the jump.
This tournament is not something that is widely known outside the hockey world, so is unlikely to make many waves. However, this is a big deal when taken in context. This was certainly a bellwether for the current situation in the NHL, and having it canceled tells you that the NHL side does not see a quick resolution to the talks.
Of course, they had to make a decision on the tournament, as this isn't something that just gets thrown together at the last second, and the people involved at all levels need to be able to plan their lives. Still, it is wildly disappointing to see the first victim of the soon to happen lockout fall so early. Would have been an excellent chance to see the Wild prospects in action, but alas, not this season.
Before anyone asks, no. If suddenly there is a deal reached tomorrow, it is unlikely the tournament would be reinstated this season. The building and staff will likely immediately begin working on plans to fill that lost usage and revenue.
Anyone still have even a shred of confidence the deal gets done by September 15th?