What does it mean to be without hockey for 100 days? Over three months ago NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had announced that the National Hockey League season would be facing a lockout. The reason behind this was due to conflicts between players and owners. The thinking of NHL hockey fan is that the matter between players and owners simply boils down to greed. Who’s at fault here regarding the current problems with the NHL and NHLPA? Is there still hope to salvage a season? Let’s look at some of the key factors that are hot topics as it refers to the bargaining table.
The issues regarding negotiations include guaranteed contracts, revenue sharing, salary caps and the Escrow Payment. I’m not going to sit here breaking down the numbers to you because I’m not a scientist. What I am going to do is summarize the issues for you in English so that each reader has a clear understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes of the NHL lockout.
It should be understood that a large portion of NHL financial success comes from eight to 10 major hockey franchises. Revenue sharing allows smaller teams to be included into receiving some finances from larger teams. The guaranteed contact gives players the opportunity to gain every dollar they signed for. The problem with this is the player option written in their contacts.
What this means is that however long a player’s contract is, they are promised and do get each and every dollar they are bought for. Usually a player signed to a 10-12 year contract is bought with a huge price tag. The Escrow Payment is explained like this. The players and owners meet at the end of each to divide finances equally. A new issue among players and owners is the NHL pension plan. Typically over $40,000 a year is placed in the players’ pension plan.
Schedule deadline for CBA talks was January 2, 11:59pm. The time is important because if an agreement cannot be reached among players and owners then the NHL players could file a disclaimer of interest. If NHL players do file a disclaimer of interest what it means is that players are putting some of the responsibility on the shoulders of the owners for the current lockout on the owners. A disclaimer of interest has not been filed and talks for today have ended and will continue tomorrow morning.
Due to the January 14 deadline approaching players and owners have met multiple times during the week to cement an agreement between the two sides. If an agreement can be reached by the 14 of January NHL fans could see a mini hockey season which includes 48 games. A positive note to take away from this legal matter is that the talks do continue and they are still at the bargaining table. Meetings are scheduled to resume at 10 A.M. tomorrow from New York.