By Izzy Presley – Columnist AM660
October 4, 2012
New York, NY – Today, the NHL has announced that all regular season games will be cancelled through October 24th. The first two months of the season are regularly the least profitable for the league so there are no surprises here at all.
Up until now, the blame and finger pointing has been towards NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, but the tide is starting to turn towards the head of the NHLPA Donald Fehr, who has been notorious for being tough to budge in his past with the MLB negotiations as the head of their players union. Fehr seems to have not changed and now has the NHL players rallying behind him.
Under Bettman, the NHL has endured three previous lockouts, including the 2005 lockout which cost the league the entire season. If that happens again, it may be tough for teams in some markets to survive if the small fan bases in those markets dwindle. On one hand, that may be good for the NHL.
The expansion of the league into markets that are non-hockey markets have been proven to be bruises on the leagues face. Failing in Atlanta twice, and fledgling in markets like Miami, Phoenix, and Tampa, while now struggling in Dallas does not help the profitability of the league. Yes, there will always be markets that struggle in every sport, but it is more highlighted in the NHL when there are northern markets who could support an NHL team.
For this lockout to be closer to an agreement, one side is going to have to budge, or they will both have to start making some concessions. With the Winter Classic less than three months away, which is the league’s most marketable, profitable, and highest rated game, something needs to be done soon.
I am not saying to stop holding your breath, hockey fans, but you may want to have an oxygen tank by your side.