For the die-hard hockey fans out there, the last two NHL lockouts are still fresh scars on the memory; the sitting. The waiting. The anticipation. The feeling of disappointment every time there were setbacks in negotiations. It was grueling, and no true fan deserved that.
Well, according to NHLPA boss Don Fehr, prepare for it again, because there’s a good likelihood of it happening again once the current NHL CBA expires.
The current CBA runs through the 2021-2022 NHL season, and it’s after that that Fehr believes the next round of negotiations will cause the owners to lock the players out again, because why wouldn’t they? “(Owners) think they’ve got nothing to lose: “Let’s just go see what happens, and maybe we’ll get a little bit more.”
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly disagrees with Fehr’s assessment, calling it “fairly naive and uneducated”. Via Renaud Lavoie on Twitter:
“Its a fairly naive and uneducated view of the situation particularly as it relates to this League’s collective bargaining history and the reasons why we have have endured work stoppages in the past. Don’s musings are also entirely inconsistent with his own collective bargaining history, which is highlighted by his own precipitation of repeated work stoppages and unprecedented labor strife in a “uncapped” sports league.”
If you ask me, Daly’s comments are just more of the same circle-talking we heard during the CBA negotiations back at the end of 2012. I agree with Fehr’s assessment; why wouldn’t the owners lock the players out again? Everyone predicted the downfall of the NHL when it happened 2 years ago, and the league is now stronger than ever. So why wouldn’t the owners squeeze the players for more of the league’s revenues? They already got the 50/50 split they wanted in the last negotiations, so why not try for 45/55 this time around? Or 40/60?
I guess only time will tell. It’s a bit premature to worry about it at this point, so let’s enjoy the hockey while we have it.