As everyone is aware, the sides in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations are so far apart that it looks like there will be no season. This would be a shame. It would be bad for the owners .. it would be bad for the players .. it would be bad for the league who .. but MOST OF ALL, it would be bad for FANS everywhere.
The owners are concerned about the revenue that they receive. They have a right to be concerned. Even our own owner, Terry Pegula of the Buffalo Sabres, said that if he needs more money he will drill another well. I take this to mean that due to the smaller size of arena’s as compared to stadiums keeping a team profitable is extraordinarily difficult under the best of circumstances. To share more revenue means even steeper losses and possibly more teams entering bankruptcy. Let’s face it .. the owners have much more than 1 revenue stream to offset any losses that they endure from revenue sharing.
For the players, they have some justified concerns. It is their contention that they deserve more money due to their risk of serious injury. Yes, they can be injured and injured severely .. but if they were truly concerned with injuries they would have taken up tennis or golf at a very early age. I hate to say it, but who doesn’t get excited when a player from their favorite team (Patrick Kaleta and Robyn Regehr) delivers a truly punishing blow? I know I do … I know my daughter does. I just find it hard to be very sympathetic for people who earn VASTLY more than 90% of the people who are alive today. Those poor, poor millionaires!
The NHL itself would suffer almost irrepairable harm due to the loss of another season. Especially, one so soon after the loss of the season 6-ish years ago. Major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) cancelled the contracts that they had with the NHL and once play resumed, the only network that would carry hockey was the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) which has since been renamed Versus. They have gotten creative to bring back the fans .. the most notable of which is the Winter Classic. But even “Gimmicks” wouldn’t help if the season was lost. And only recently has NBC begun airing games again. Another strike could be the death knell for the game we love.
Which brings me to who will be hurt the most .. the fans. It is because of fans that there is even a league to begin with. The NHL, the Owners, and the Players owe far more to the fan bases than they realize. If nobody bought tickets or merchandise .. the players wouldn’t get paid their gi-normous salaries .. the owners wouldn’t be concerned about sell outs and meetings, while there wouldn’t even need to be a league to consider player grievances. Not to mention all of the people who get hurt from having no season (trainers, arena staff, local merchants, etc). If it wasn’t for the fans .. the NHL would not exist. The way I see it .. both sides need to get off there collective high horse .. both give concessions, meet in the middle (isn’t that the art of compromise) and return to the business of hockey for you and I, the fans. I love taking my daughter to games .. the look on her face when she gets a new autograph .. and the father-daughter time i so long for .. it would be a shame for me to say that there is no season for something so mundane as money … I mean seriously?