March 22, 2009; Los Angeles, CA, USA; MLB players association executive director Donald Fehr at batting practice before World Baseball Classic semifinal between the USA and Japan at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Greetings Caniacs! In last Thursday’s article I had mentioned that I would begin to cover the Collective Bargaining Agreement, also known as the CBA. Through the next several articles I will try to make clarity out of a somewhat of a murky situation. For starters, the current CBA expires on September 15th which is 33 days away. Since the Los Angeles Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup, there really hasn’t been much (if any) progress between the NHLPA and the owners. So for starters, let’s talk about who is involved in this complex process.
If you are a baseball fan the first person I would like to mention is Donald Fehr, his last name is pronounced “FEAR”. Sort of fitting for a man that represented the major league baseball players association and was public enemy number one regarding work stoppages, along with the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Donald Fehr is now the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association. He previously served as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1986-2009. This man is slow and patient and typically gets what he wants.
Make no mistake about it when the NHLPA called upon him for his services, they knew with his involvement, a “Lock Out” would be imminent. There are only 33 days left until the current CBA expires. Yet, the last meeting that took place between the NHLPA and the NHL lasted less than two hours and the only thing that was mentioned out of current NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was that the league has “no intentions” of playing the 2012-13 season under the current CBA. Well no kidding! We have heard this over the last nine months, however what we did not hear until recently is that the NHL stated that the players will be locked out after September 15th ( unless a new agreement is reached). The owners have proposed a new deal to the NHLPA that was quickly rejected. Donald Fehr has mentioned that a counter offer will be proposed to the owners on Tuesday. I guess we will see on Tuesday if both parties involved will show any sense of urgency to get a deal done.
I have to admit, this process is a lengthy and complicated one. I do not blame the parties involved with being overly cautious, however this process could have begun quite some time ago. We see this so many times in all of professional sports. The NBA and the NFL had just gone through lockouts last year. Is this the new way to operate in professional sports? The NHL is no stranger to this. They cancelled an entire season in 2004-2005 and the only party to truly suffer was the fans. Yes the Fans! You and I! The ones that use our hard earned money to go support and cheer on our beloved hockey team.
I don’t want to alarm my fellow Caniacs with the current situation going on in the NHL, especially after such an intriguing off season that our Canes had been involved with. On the contrary, I feel compelled to inform you all about the situation not only the players and owners are going through but with what the fans may be going through if there is a lockout in the near future.
On Thursday I will be going in depth with what is on the table for both parties to agree on.This will involve Revenue Sharing, Escrow, Contract Structure, and Salary Cap Ceiling just to name a few of the topics. Hopefully there will be a few positives to cover with the NHLPA’s counter proposal that will be given to the owners on Tuesday.