The NHL Posts a Statement

If you logged in to NHL.com this morning, you may have run into this message from the league to us, the fans.

“Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.

Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum. While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League’s economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players — as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players’ Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric.

This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.”

Dear NHL,

Saying your committed to around the clock negotiations with the NHLPA, does not mean meeting 1 on 1 with the other side for 15 minutes at a Taco Bell in Hoboken, NJ for lunch the day before the Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire. It means you are willing to do whatever is necessary to put the sport where it belongs, in arenas across the United States and Canada, not held hostage over a negotiating table. Being committed means you are willing to compromise with the other side. Compromise is not “come meet with us when YOU are willing to bend.” Although the league may believe they got away with murder with fans after cancelling the 2004-05 season, I’m not sure some fans are willing to give the NHL a third chance, just to get their hearts broken again once the next CBA expires.

Figure this stuff out NHL & NHLPA. Your fans’ patience comes with a shelf life and it’s MUCH shorter this time around.

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