In a move that surprised no one, except for maybe those fans who thought the last CBA would last at least a decade, the NHL owners and their clubs have locked out the NHL players preventing them from being able to start the 2012/13 season on time.
Although I’ll miss hockey, and I’ll come back, I’ll do what I can to buy as little merchandise and attend fewer games this year. I have to be realistic in that I’m not going to boycott anything completely, I’m not going to miss watching any games in person. But I can stay away from the Saddledome more often this year as a way of trying to remind the owners and the players that it’s a game, not a business, for me. You know me, I’m that guy who gives you the money that you’re now bickering over.
Here is a letter from the Flames to their fans after the lockout began.
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. (around the clock, seriously? that’s not what I’ve heard)
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. (at it’s best? who says that? It’s been seven years of penalties and rule changes to increase scoring. Whee!)
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. (now I may just be a fan, and not at the table – but maybe you guys need to focus first on the meeting room. Maybe this is why things aren’t resolved.)