SUN Hockey Pool

NHL's bases are covered on Winter Classic

The large tiger statue outside Comerica Park wears a Detroit Red Wings jersey during an...

The large tiger statue outside Comerica Park wears a Detroit Red Wings jersey during an announcement inside that the Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus in the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic during a press conference at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Rebecca Cook/REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Even if the start of the season is disrupted by labour woes, the NHL doesn't need to make a snap decision on the status of the Winter Classic on New Year's Day between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

The outdoor game at 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium can be cancelled as late as the day of the game with just a minimal penalty for the league, the New York Times reported, citing the contract between the league and the University of Michigan.

The league would forfeit only the $100,000 deposit of the $2.85-million stadium rental fee, according to the contract should a work stoppage "arising from the lack of a collective bargaining agreement" cause the cancellation.

The rest of the fee would be refunded. The league will make a handful of payments through November and December for rights to the stadium.

If the cancellation were to take place after Nov. 2, the university also would have any out-of-pocket expenses repaid.

The annual game produces millions in revenue for the league in ticket sales, sponsorship and advertising.

BRULE HEADS TO EUROPE

Former first-round pick Gilbert Brule has signed a one-year contract to play for the Zurich-based ZSV Lions of the Swiss elite league.

Brule, 25, had five goals and nine assists in 33 games last season with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Lions confirmed the news Monday on their website.

The Edmonton native was drafted sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2005 -- the year Sidney Crosby went first overall.

Brule has 43 goals and 52 assists in 296 NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Oilers and Coyotes.

BRIEFLY

First-round pick Brendan Gaunce, 18, signed an entry-level contract Monday with the Vancouver Canucks. Gaunce, drafted 26th overall, had 28 goals and 40 assists in 68 games last season for Belleville of the OHL


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