It is now Day 60 of the National Hockey League lockout and there seems to be no indications on the horizon to save 2012-13 NHL season. The NHL lockout is due to the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on September 15, 2012. According to a recent San Jose Mercury News report, no further meetings between the NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association, to negotiate a new CBA, have been scheduled.
“No, we have not communicated today,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on November 14, 2012. “No meetings scheduled, and no plans to meet.”
A CBA is contract between the employers, the NHL, and the employees, the NHLPA, that regulates salary, length of contracts, free agency, revenue sharing, etc between the two entities. The entire 2004-05 season was canceled due to the expiration of the prior CBA and the inability to negotiate a new one that both sides could agree upon.
The latest CBA expired on September 15, 2012 and as a result the NHL has locked out its players. The lockout has lead to the cancellation of all games through the end November, for a total of 327-games lost for forever.
The NHL also canceled the Winter Classic, which was originally scheduled for January 1, 2013. Canceling the Winter Classic could imply that the NHL is in it for the long haul and can survive an extended lockout, despite the loss of revenue and empty arenas.
“The NHL’s decision to cancel the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is unnecessary and unfortunate, as was the owners’ implementation of the lockout itself,” Don Fehr, National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Director said in a recent release. “The fact that the season has not started is a result of a unilateral decision by the owners; the players have always been ready to play while continuing to negotiate in good faith. We look forward to the league’s return to the bargaining table, so that the parties can find a way to end the lockout at the earliest possible date, and get the game back on the ice for the fans.”
Many owners can ride out this storm, even with loss of revenue from the lockout, but many players aren’t as fiscally fortunate. Due to the loss of a weekly paycheck many NHL players have jumped ship since the lockout became official and are earning some coin in other professional leagues until the NHL opens up for business.
The Kontinental Hockey League, a pro league with 26-teams from various eastern European nations, is now the hot spot for NHL players looking to play and get paid whilst they’re locked out from the NHL. 2012 NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr are among the locked out NHL players currently in the KHL.
In 30 cities in North America NHL arenas sit empty and idle. My local team, the Phoenix Coyotes, were supposed to host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz. but that theater of hockey will be empty. Tonight’s contest is the 15th regular season game canceled because of the current lockout.
2011-12 was the best season for the Coyotes since their exodus from Winnipeg in 1996. They were Pacific Division champs and made their way to the Western Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Both of the aforementioned achievements were franchise firsts and made the community forget about the perpetual drama of the club’s ownership issue.
Jobing.com Arena was packed during the playoffs and there was a feeling throughout the community that hockey was relevant and that the Coyotes had finally found a home, after years of having dreadful attendance.
But the achievements of the Coyotes and the good vibes from the community during last season are likely gone because the NHL and NHLPA can’t come to an agreement. It’s not a stretch to think that the fans the Coyotes won over last season won’t return because of the lockout.
People don’t like having their heart’s broken or watch billionaires argue with millionaires in these trying fiscal times. If that’s the case then the Coyotes will likely finish at the bottom, when it comes to attendance, even if they garner another Pacific Division crown.