Archive for July, 2005

NHL Hockey Lock Out Update

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

NHL Deal is done!NHL Lockout is over hopefully!

Today the board of governors ratified the new NHL labor agreement that the NHL players ratified at almost 90% yesterday. The NHL has a lot of catch up to do over the course of the next couple of weeks, drafting and signing players, learning the new economic system and the like. It is going to be a whirl wind season for most players and clubs as the reality will finally hit home as to the damage the NHL lockout will have after a year absence. At SportsPool.com we feel that the NHL has strong roots in many city centers and it will survive well in Canada but some of the smaller U.S. markets will undoubtedly suffer greatly. The one saving grace for the NHL this year, is the Pittsburg Penguins winning the rights to pick Sidney Crosby in the first round of the 2005 NHL draft. This is one small market team that needed the boost that Sidney Crosby will most assuredly draw. I would think the new stadium is just around the corner. Game on! Lets play hockey!

Previous Lockout Thoughts:

As long as the agreement reached today is ratified in a formal ratification process by the NHLPA Members and the NHL Board of Governors, it looks like the NHL Hockey strike may be coming to an end. While the details have not been officially released as of yet, some experts predict the terms may include:
  • A maximum payroll range $21 million to $39 million based on league wide revenues
  • A 24% roll back of current player salaries
  • A maximum of 20% of a teams revenues can go to one player - which means the MOST a player can make per season is 7.4 million (which is still pretty good by my standards).Guess the players got what they were looking for, right? Time will tell if the lock out was a wise move. Along with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NHL players can also look forward to several changes in the way the game is played. Some changes include:
  • A reduction in the size of goalie equipment
  • Allowing two-line passing
  • A penalty shootout to decide tie games during the regular seasonOf course the changes to the game won't be felt just in the rulebook. Despite major efforts by both sides to reach an agreement in time for the upcoming hockey year, they now will have to struggle to get their audience back. People are creatures of habit, and they've had to cope without one of their favorite past times for a while now. What if they prefer the new over the old? I guess the real question is: Did the players get a better deal then they were offered in the beginning by holding out? The NHL Hockey Team owners and the NHLPA were not able to come to a new contract agreement, and the season was cancelled today (Feb 16th), leaving hockey fans to look elsewhere for their sports entertainment. One wonders what each side hopes to gain from taking a year off. Hockey has always been the 4th most popular sport in the United States, fighting with NASCAR for the hearts and wallets of the audience. However, I know many fans who have lost interest in the NHL Hockey League during this dispute, either turning to alternative sports, or other leagues. I recently read a report that said the median Canadian income was $23,300 in 2002. With the Team owners offering a cap of $42.5 million, each team could support over 1800 average Canadians as players if the NHLPA had accepted the owners offer. Talk about greed. Keep in mind: The Major League Baseball strike of 1994 came on the heels of two championship seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ticket sales have never returned to their pre-strike numbers. What the next NHL Hockey season is going to look like will be hard to predict, but assuredly there will be less money to go around, and that will affect the money paid to both the players and the owners as well. Regardless of who ultimately "wins" this lock out situation, both sides will still lose overall, and it is the fans who are the ones who have lost the most. Bob Goodenow has advised players that a lockout could last up to three seasons. Only one thing is really certain. Due to the egos of NHL League Commissioner Gary Bettman, and NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow, NHL Hockey can expect hard times to come.