Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 15:09
The National Hockey League has locked out its players for the second time since 2004, and prompting its fourth work stoppage since 1992.
With the exodus of players to foreign leagues in Russia, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, the NHL season is looking very grim for this year.
The lockout simply needs to end, which is easier said than done. The NHL has seen substantial growth in its fan base and income in seasons following the cancelation of the 2004-2005 season. Even “small market” cities, such as Phoenix and Winnipeg are drawing more fans than in recent years. If the 2012-2013 season is cancelled, all forward progress will be subdued. Owners and players cannot collectively decide who deserves a larger stake in recent gains, which is why the NHL is locked out again.
It’s a problem that has plagued the majority of professional sports leagues. Who gets the majority of the revenue? Do the people who sacrifice their bodies for entertainment value deserve the majority, or is it the people who organize how the people perform?
Jim Devellano, Vice President of the Detroit Red Wings, states this problem from the perspective of an owner. “The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That's the way it’s always been and that's the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen.”
Those comments were made by Devellano during an interview with Island Sports News. Of course, Devellano was reportedly fined $250,000 for that slip.
Devellano’s comments seem degrading to players, as they are human beings, not animals. It’s one thing to be an animal, but throw in the human element, and it’s game over. The players work day in and day out to earn the “ranchers” money. The sacrifices they give up, such as long-road trips or time away from family should entail them to a majority. This is their job, their livelihood.
The players agreed to concessions in 2004-2005, but not as severe as cuts offered by owners during this year’s negotiations. Players offered to take concessions only as low as 52 percent this year. Countering the NHLPA offer, owners want players to take cuts of between 49 percent and 47 percent of total revenue.
The players should be able to receive a majority, as they are doing the work. It should not be as high as 63 percent, but between 52 and 55 percent seems reasonable.
Without the sake of fans in mind, this lockout is happening because of greed. The owners want the greatest profit for the least amount of cost, while players want to be fairly compensated for their work. Owners and players alike should step back and work on reasonable negotiations to save the season. The silver lining – there are meetings scheduled for this week, which could mean that a 2012-2013 NHL season is still possible. If a deal is not reached soon, the NHL will lose all forward momentum built in recent years.