NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has halted the start of the NHL hockey season by locking out its players. Can the impasse between the NHL owners and its players ever be mended? Bettman reports that the NHL league has a desolate bottom line that lost $224 million US last season. The NHL hockey league is reported to have lost $1.8 billion over the 10 years of its collective bargaining agreement.
Bob Goodenow, the executive director for the NHL Playerís Association has another version of the story, claiming that itís not true at all. In the middle of this dispute is the salary cap. Goodenow concedes that the hockey players do indeed, make a lot of money. The salary cap is a device whereby the NHL team owners would remunerate the players less than they would normally get and the owners arenít budging on the issue. And for now, itís a stalemate.
But who, other than the owners, got the game into this mess. The owners, themselves have trailblazed into unstable market areas and unwisely, perhaps, invested most of their money into playerís salaries instead of marketing and promotion. The owners have used the game of hockey to secure guaranteed programming for their cable TV investments or used professional hockey, for example, as an add on to an amusement park.
The players on the other hand, have worked tremendously hard from such a young age to become a spectacular athletics. Starting with the 6 a.m. morning practices involving numerous years in minor hockey. Given the above, itís no wonder why the players have little or no trust where the owners are concerned. The players have little faith in the numbers that the owners report. There is question about moving expenses from one business entity to another and dubious accounting of their ticket revenue.
The future of professional hockey is dependent upon a strong economic system. But what is that system? Some argue that the 2004-05 season is in jeopardy. If the season is cancelled, the Stanley Cup will not be awarded to any team and this hasnít happened since 1919 and Saturday night wonít be the same in Canada without hockey.
Catherine Kenyeres is a freelance writer and publisher of http://www.best-4u-tickets.com. She has written numerous articles for the sports enthusiast.