As the clock struck midnight Saturday going into Sunday this past weekend, NHL fans around the world cried out in vain. Another work stoppage has caused an NHL Lockout for the fourth time in league history.
The NHL was unable to reach a labor agreement with the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) by 11:59pm, Saturday, so the league imposed a lockout on all players. The problem with this lockout is revenue and how to split it up.
Basically, a $3.3 billion pot is the subject of how to split that fairly between the players and owners. The owners want to decrease the percentage of hockey-related revenue that goes to players, while the NHLPA wants to guarantee that the players get at least $1.8 million in salaries paid out annually.
Sound confusing? A lot of us are confused. The lockout that cancelled the entire 2004-2005 season was because of money, and eventually an agreement came upon for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). It’s funny how these things work out though, because that deal was authored by the current NHL owners back in 2005 and now they want change.
Both sides issued a statement to the fans regarding the lockout, but only the NHL’s statement is on the NHL’s website. Here’s an excerpt from it:
“Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum.”
Why lockout the players when the NHL is supposedly having the best years in a long time? A lot of us are asking the same questions. Those questions will keep circling until the lockout ends. This lockout may not last an entire season, but it certainly takes away from the fans, who are unfortunately caught in the middle of this dilemma.
To read the original article that appeared in the second issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org