NHL Locks Out Players Again, Jeopardizes Start of Season

As the clock struck midnight this past Sunday morning, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) expired with no new contract in place.

The expiration of the current CBA marked the beginning of what could be a lengthy lockout, according to Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.

“We’ve shown we’re willing to give, but [the league has] got to be willing,” Crosby told Katie Strang of ESPN New York. “It seems like there’s a pretty hard line there, and [the league is] not willing to budge.”

The NHL earned a record $3.3 billion in revenue from the 2011-2012 season, which leaves Ramapo hockey fans unhappy as to why the league would want to take so much away from its players. 

While he thinks labor issues are common to any business, Ramapo senior Brian Ooms thinks the league is wrong to ask for more.

“It just boggles my mind,” Ooms said. “Owners are asking for more money and are willing to go through with a lockout, where they won’t make any money in doing so.”

Under the expiring CBA, the players association pulled in 57 percent of hockey-related revenue last season, while the league took in 43 percent. The latest proposal from the league would reverse that number, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

Regardless of which side earns more revenue, Ooms thinks it shouldn’t matter.

“To me both sides are just greedy,” Ooms said, adding that “they’re making millions of dollars and still aren’t satisfied.”

Ramapo senior Brian Garrett thinks the league needs to give even more.

“I believe [the players] aren’t paid enough like other professional sports players,” Garrett said.

Garrett also thinks the fans are being hurt the most by the lockout.

“I think the owners need to be more generous to their players because the fans should be able to watch hockey,” Garrett continued. “I believe the hockey fan base took a devastating blow when the last lockout happened. I’m sure it will happen again.”

Garrett went as far as to say that “professional hockey is doomed” if there isn’t an immediate solution to the lockout.

The NHL and NHLPA last endured a lockout, which forced the entire season to be canceled, during the 2004-2005 season. This followed a lockout that lasted 103 days during the 1994-1995 season and reduced the season from 82 to 48 games.

Ramapo sophomore Kelsey Lapp thinks the league is doing a disservice to both players and fans alike.

“It’s not fair to the players or the fans. Players should be able to continue what they love doing,” Lapp said. “It’s especially not fair to the fans because of how much time and money they put into the NHL.”

The NHL and the Players Association currently have no plans to meet and discuss a new deal, signaling fans may be in for a long wait before they get their chance to see any hockey this year.

“You can only make a deal when people are ready to make a deal,” said NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, via SportsIllustrated.com.

The lack of negotiations puts the 2012-2013 NHL season in grave danger of not starting Oct. 11, as previously scheduled. Now, it is no longer a matter of when, but rather a matter of if the season will even start at all.