Only The Beginning

Hockey fans need to be more than a little concerned about the state of things. Will we have hockey this fall? There’s a good chance we won’t.

The Canadian Press is reporting this:

The NHL has made the first move in labour negotiations with its union.

Two media outlets reported Friday night that the league has made an initial offer to the NHL Players’ Association with several major changes to the current collective bargaining agreement. posted details of the proposal, including a reduction of players’ hockey-related revenues from 57 per cent to 46 per cent.

Renaud Lavoie, a journalist with RDS, also reports that players would need to wait 10 seasons before becoming unrestricted free agents and that contracts would be limited to a maximum of five years.

The RDS story also says that the NHL’s proposal would bring an end to salary arbitration and that entry-level contracts would be five years instead of three as they are under the current CBA.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post also tweeted that the NHL’s proposal would eliminate signing bonuses on future contracts and mandate that all future deals have an equal value for every year of the contract.

“NHL proposal amounts to Declaration of War against NHLPA,” added Brooks in a separate tweet.

11 thoughts on “Only The Beginning”

  1. Well RDS nor anyone else from the press was in the meetings so the press is firing off the first shots. No doubt there is a war looming and with Don Fehr as the players rep it will be nasty. If we have a season as long as the NBA was we will be lucky. As the owner for the Wild said this is crazy and he had to do just that that to get those players. The owners cannot police themselves so they rely on CBA changes every few years. I am not against the owners as they assume all financial risk and the players are rewarded handsomely for playing a game. Most players would never earn nearly the kind of money they are making in the real world so they should be happy. The old time players needed summer jobs just to make ends meet and support their families so it has come a long ways but fear not we are in for a battle. AHL and college hockey will be the thing in the fall.

  2. dra58, you put into words exactly what I’ve always felt. The owners take the financial risk, and the players are extremely well looked after. More than most in the real world. It’s mind-boggling to think that a young hockey player can bring home $400k every two weeks or so. Yes, the owners can be greedy bastards, but I have no sympathy at all for the players. None whatsoever. All this is going to do is make myself and others very bitter.

  3. Sorry Dennis and Dra58, I’m going to be the first on this blog to side with the players. And I apologize in advance for the length of this comment.

    The players are the ones with the skills that I want to watch perform and see rewarded. For the most part the owners are a rich bunch of whiny buffoons, their only complaint is that they need to be protected from their own incompetence. They hired GMs like Gainey and Gainey and then green-lit expensive trades and signings for players like Gomez and Kaberle. Even casual fans knew these were major mistakes.

    And the owner’s really don’t face any financial risks. The growth in hockey is booming, revenue and team valuations are at record levels. On average the teams are worth 47% more now than before the lockout. The main issue that is preventing even higher profits is their support for Bettman and his agenda to keep teams in markets that don’t want them. The value of the Jets increased 21% just by getting out of Atlanta. I don’t know anyone whose savings, RSPs or investments have performed anywhere near these levels. Many have mortgaged their team to cover other investment losses.

    Players are the one’s risking their health, for a long time many retired with chronic back and knee problems. Now we’re learning about those with lifelong headaches, dizziness, susceptibility to light and mental health issues.

    I fully agree with the proposal to eliminate signing bonuses especially for young players. They bust their asses for years and then receive hundreds of thousands just for signing their name; it sends the wrong message. Easy solution, let them earn it slowly over the course of the contract for playing hockey.

    I don’t hate the idea of equal salary every year as something must be done to eliminate these salary cap mocking front loaded contracts. But I think equal is a bit extreme as a player’s performance will typically slowly decline so I would think a maximum drop of 15% per year is appropriate.

  4. Christopher, I knew there would be opposition to this. I agree with a lot of what you say, but maybe not the part where you said the owners don’t take a risk.They stand a chance of taking a major bath in many cities, like the Panthers, and Atlanta before they went to Winnipeg and many others as well. These owners had somehow accumulated a lot of bucks over the years and had an extra several million to buy a team and building. If they had the wherewithall to get themselves in this position in the first place, they should have a right to hopefully make some money, providing they look after their players in a first-class manner. Which is what happens. These players deserve a good buck because they’re the best in the world at what they do, and thousands pay to watch them. Do they need an even better situation? How much better can it get, and if the lifestyle they enjoy and want to improve on even more stands between hockey and us, then I’m not happy with them.

  5. The owners are finding some innovative ways to squeeze even more dollars out of the fans’ wallets.

    There’s a new thing called First in Line, which is a fan club which gives you priority access to purchase a pair of tickets for one of 41 Habs home games (among other things) – for a price ($129):

  6. Here we have millionaires vs millionaires. I can’t see taking any side. It is the fans who take it up the ass whatever happens. It is a necessary arrangement so the rich can get richer and the average shmuk can get fukkkked. It’s just the way it is. It’s like thinking that changing the leader of the country to align with your preferred political stripe will make any difference. It won’t. They are all doing their bosses bidding, following orders from the people who really have power. So bend over and make sure you have lots of vaseline.

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