Read: Mark Messier Thinks That Hockey Could Be Played By January 1

Mark Messier was asked about the current NHL lockout by the Associated Press and responded that he thinks January 1, the Winter Classic, is a benchmark for the season to start.

Messier said that the Winter Classic along with the Stanley Cup Finals and the All-Star Game are cornerstone events for the league and attract not only hockey fans, but non-hockey and casual fans.

Mess has said that both sides need to trust each other to get a deal done, “There has to be a partnership — everyone knows it. In order to have that viable working relationship, there has to be trust on both sides — so you can even begin to negotiate.”

Wayne Gretzky has said that he thinks/hopes the that the league will be playing by Jan 1.