As to be expected the first NHL cancellation of meaningful regular season games has now happened with the announcement made on Thursday that the league would be cancelling the first two weeks of the regular season. With the NHL lockout now reaching day 19 and no signs of ending anytime soon the major fear surrounding the players and fans is how many more games will be cancelled before the lockout finally ends.
On Thursday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released a statement saying “We were extremely disappointed to have to make today’s announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better”. NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said “the decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners”.
The two weeks of games which have been cancelled span from what was supposed to be the league’s opening night of October 11 until October 24; in total 82 games which Daly says still may have a chance to be made up depending on when the lockout ends. According to TSN (The Sports Network) the NHL has lost $100 million in revenue already with the cancelled preseason and now stand to lose approximately another $120 million in revenue with the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season. Reality is truly about to set in for the players as they were supposed to receive their first paychecks of the season on October 15.
The NHL and NHLPA met last week for the first time in weeks but didn’t even begin to tackle the major issues of ironing out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement such as revenue sharing yet they chose to speak on secondary issues including pensions, travel and grievance procedures. There doesn’t really seem as if there will be an end to this lockout any time soon, so prepare to witness the cancellation of more games very soon.