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 contract provisions give the league some leeway for salvaging its showcase event should a lockout delay the start of the 2012-13 season, enabling the N.H.L. to hold the Winter Classic even if a lockout is settled in late December.