Despite multiple negotiations between the Player's Association and the league, the NHL is officially locked out until a new CBA is reached, effective Sunday at midnight. For the NHL, this will mark the fourth work stoppage in the last twenty years, a feat that could effectively make the league extinct.
There are several issues being debated between the two sides with the biggest being the wide difference in revenue sharing to the players. The owners proposed a plan to cut HRR (or Hockey Related Revenue) from 57% to 43% for players. Meanwhile, the players are suggesting a 50/50 split of revenue sharing to replicate the NFL and NBA.
The league quickly rejected the counter-offer.
Obviously Donald Fehr has a history of player strikes dating back to his term as the MLBPA rep in 1994. Thanks to his work, MLB did not have a World Series in '94 and Fehr gained a reputation as a tough negotiator. But, before you can point the finger at Donald Fehr as the culprit for the NHL lockout, please keep in mind what the owners are proposing:
43% revenue sharing granted to the players.
That's right, the same players fans line up with 200 dollars in tickets to watch are being denied significantly less than half the share of the profits. The sport of hockey appeals to people due to the high amount of skill required to play at the highest level. At the same time, players are generally lauded for their politeness off the ice as well as their ability to stay out of trouble. What better way to reward those same players than to have them play overseas?
The NHL released a statement to the fans suggesting that the league is in full pursuit of finding a "fair" deal for both sides.
"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." (NHL.com)
At this time, all training camps and pre-season activities are on hold until a new CBA agreed upon. The regular season is slated to start on October 11th.