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NHL Lockout Day 1: Talking to the fans, not each other

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By Stu Hackel

While neither side in the NHL’s lockout of the players had anything to say at midnight when the CBA expired, on Sunday the messaging war began.

The league issued the following statement at 9 AM on NHL.com:

“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.”

That was followed at around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon by the release of this very slickly produced video by the NHLPA:

On their websites, many clubs re-ran the league’s message. A third of them — Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Islanders, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Jose and Vancouver — crafted messages of their own to fans and sponsors. Some teams that felt they made major offseason strides reinforced that narrative in their communiqués.

It’s rare that the clubs or team executives have said anything at all about the talks or the lockout — they have been prohibited by the NHL from making statements under the threat of a million-dollar fine. It’s quite possible that all these messages had to be cleared by the league office prior to publication.

As for the owners and players speaking to each other about reaching a new collective bargaining agreement, there were no formal talks today and none are scheduled.

Katie Strang of ESPN New York tweeted that a phone discussion between NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr took place sometime Sunday and that they plan to speak again Tuesday evening. These two have kept the lines of communication open even as the sides have remain committed to their now-entrenched positions.

But as for anything productive coming from their chat, RDS’s Renaud Lavoie tweeted, “Nothing new to report.”

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  • Published On Sep 16, 2012
  • 5 comments
    robobrien21
    robobrien21

    I have been a loyal fan of the NHL since 1972. However, I have grown sick of league stoppages. Therefore, if the2012 – 2013 NHL Regular Season does not start on 10/11/2012 I will boycott  the businesses that sponsor the NHL - Bridgestone, Coors, Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Reebok, Lays, Kraft, Hershey, Scotia Bank, Bell, Westin Hotels, Pepsi, Gatorade, Enterprise Rent-A-Car,… for two (2) years. I suggest that other fans to do the same, and urge family, friends and co-workers to join in on this boycott of NHL sponsors. The people at the top (Bettman, Daly, the Owners,…) are interested in one thing – REVENUE. If the revenue stream is seriously threatened maybe they will get their collective act together nd stop this Lock-Out nonsense. In addition do not hesitate to bombard NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, with this boycott threat.

     

    WTFNHL
    WTFNHL

    Get involved with the Fan's Union to voice your frustrations on the lockout.  Visit "We The Fans of the NHL" today at http://www.WTFNHL.com.  We're letting the NHL and NHLPA know we won't be taken for granted!

    Jeremy2
    Jeremy2

    Just one word about this lockout, "Ugh"

    JosephDeRosa
    JosephDeRosa

    Bettman is far and away the worst commissioner in sports today. Stop bragging about higher ratings and increased merchandise revenue, just to try to cheat the players who put their bodies on the line and sell that merchandise for you.

    geeon1
    geeon1

     @JosephDeRosa See I disagree, I think the owners are overpaying in terms of HRR. Theya re trying to make the lesser teams viable and competitive. What they should do is contract those weakers sisters out of the league but neither side will do that: Players lose jobs and Bettman would lose face.