The NHL's Winter Classic game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs scheduled for Jan. 1, 2013 could be cancelled as late as the day of the game itself, according to a report by The New York Times.

The newspaper cites details from the contract between the University of Michigan and the NHL stipulating that a work stoppage "arising from the lack of a collective bargaining agreement [CBA]"  would see the $3 million US stadium fee — for the 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium — refunded to the league, aside from $100,000.

The NHL and its players' union are currently in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and the contract with the university grants the league some flexibility if a work stoppage threatens any part of the season.

On Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated the league's position that they would lock out players if no deal is struck by Sept. 15.