NHL lockout: League cancels two weeks of regular season, including three Leaf home games

NHL lockout: League cancels two weeks of regular season, including three Leaf home games

Published on Thursday October 04, 2012  Kevin McGran Sports Reporter
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It’s the No Hockey League.
With no talks planned and no end in sight to the lockout, the NHL has cancelled the first two weeks of the season.
“We were extremely disappointed to have to make today’s announcement.
The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a release. “We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans.

“This is not about ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the league and the game.
We are committed to getting this done.”
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In all, 82 games were cancelled between Oct. 11 and Oct. 24. The Maple Leafs lost four games, including three at home. The Leafs — the highest earning team in the 30-team league — earn an estimated $2 million a game at the Air Canada Centre in terms of ticket sales and concessions.
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners,” Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players Association, said in a release. “If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue.
“A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lockout the players in an effort to secure massive concessions.
This is the third lockout of the tenure of Gary Bettman as commissioner. During the first two — one that cost the entire 2004-05 season and one that cut just about in half the 1994-95 season — cost fans 1,698 games.
There remained some hope, but not a lot of confidence, that the missing games could be rescheduled into an 83-game schedule if the two sides can quickly come to an agreement.
“If and when we reach an agreement with the Players’ Association, we will have to work with them on a way to reconfigure the schedule,” Daly told The Star in an email. “Obviously, lots of considerations will be involved, including most importantly what can be done consistent with the health and safety of our players.”
The league, which generated $3.3 billion in revenue last season, recently said it lost $100 million due to the cancellation of the entire pre-season.
The two sides have met on some secondary issues in the last two weeks, but neither side is willing to budge on core economic issues. The NHL is looking for salary rollbacks. The NHLPA wants the league to honour contracts as they were signed, without rollbacks.

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