If you’re a fan of hockey like those of us at the Mark Rivkin Hockey Review, you’re probably pleasantly aware of the recent collective bargaining agreement between players and owners, ending the NHL lockout that has recently plagued our fine sport.
Sixteen hours of negotiations ended the in-fighting between the National Hockey League and its players, which for everyone, most importantly fans, wiped out a large part of the hockey season for the third time in less than twenty years. It should also be noted that this fiasco has resulted in at least 480 games being cancelled, which brings the total of lost regular-season games to more than two thousand during three lockouts under Bettman. Executive director of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr optimistically observed that “within just a very few days, the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, and not the two of us,” referring to himself and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who have been at the center of attention and media focus during the lockout. But barring any unforeseen circumstances, training camps are expected to open this week and the season will begin next week. But this season is destined to end tarnished, as is the coveted Stanley Cup, which will be awarded, but has been branded for the rest of time with the shameful “SEASON NOT PLAYED” in honor of the canceled 2004-05 season.
Many of the details need to be revisited with a fine-tooth comb, but overall the Collective Bargaining Agreement will have a ten year term, contracts will be limited to seven years, or eight if a team re-signs a player of its own. The salary cap in Year 2 will be $64.3 million, same as last season. Yeah, all minor, petty details while loyal fans like us sit and wait for the bickering to end so we can enjoy hockey. The Mark Rivkin Hockey Review concludes that everyone lost here, especially hockey fans everywhere.
In retrospect, the NHL lockout is expected to cause perhaps a billion dollars in revenue loss this season, given the fact that nearly 40% of the regular-season schedule won’t be played. And while the lockout wasn’t as big of a deal in American sports news, it was big news for Canadians because we’re ready to get back to watching the sport we love without the corporate headaches.