So this week, as you may have heard, a budding proposal has emerged from the NHL to the NHLPA.
Fans were severely excited… if only for a moment.
The new deal birthed many rumors, including that it was dubbed a “starting point” by players and that this debate is far from over.
On Wednesday the NHL released the full text of the NHL’s offer to the NHLPA for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Included in it were some key points:
- Term: Six-year Agreement with mutual option for a seventh year.
- Payroll Range: 2012/13 Payroll Range
Lower Limit = $43.9 Million
Midpoint = $51.9 Million
Upper Limit = $59.9 Million
- Maximum contract length of five (5) years
- 50/50 hockey related revenue between players and owners
Read more from the NHL HERE.
Players have until Oct. 25 to reach an agreement, in which case the decision will likely be to accept a first-year rollback, or lose even more money from the lockout with a rollback still on the table for the future.
As fans we’re all scratching our heads while both sides continue to fight for an affable way to divide record revenues.
Is this really that difficult to figure out?
But I go back to the first month of lockout madness and reread, and reread again, this quote by Donald Fehr :
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”
And following this I must quote an accurate response from Riley Kufta (Bleacher Report), “With this reasonably (and I say reasonably with caution) fair proposal the NHL has now assumed the stance that they do care about an 82-game season.”
So the owners “care”. They should, they’re not making any money just sitting back and kicking their feet up during a lockout.
The players care. They are not playing the game they love, are forced to possibly look for hockey overseas and are being undercut and backed into a corner.
And boy the fans sure do care as well.
What’s to do?
No one is making money and the sport is hibernating for an abstruse length of time. Meanwhile, fans are frustrated to the point of no return and the league is going to hurt if and when this matter is all sorted out and professional hockey finally returns to our lives.
So instead of locking out the game, or playing cat and mouse for another month (or two, or three) here is MY proposal:
Perhaps I should address “Dear Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr,”
Give us hockey.
NHLPA, take this offer from the NHL at 50/50 split in related revenue and run with it for one year. Not the six that was offered, just ONE, to serve as something in the interim to get the players on the ice, keep the league running, and satisfy the PAYING customers — the fans.
Because I’m telling you this, if the only “progress” made today in this meeting is a counter proposal and a longer delay of the 2012-2013 season, the hockey community and the growth of the sport and the NHL is GOING TO SUFFER IMMENSELY.
Bettman, it is completely unnecessary for the NHL to lock out the players in order to reach a new CBA; it is a preferred tactic. Stop it. Your players are finding new teams overseas, and the longer they stay discovering better treatment, the less likely they will be to return.
Bring back the game, and then allow for a full year of all the negotiating that’s required to fix the problems. This pressured CBA is only going to lead to rash decisions and is not looking to better the system for the long future. After a year (that includes hockey!), the two sides can reason out a new CBA implementable for many years to come.
A paying fan.