NHL Lockout To Start Tonight If Deal Isn’t Reached

The third NHL lockout since 1994 will begin at midnight tonight if a deal isn’t reached between owners and players.

According to the Chicago Suntimes the NHL lockout is pretty much inevitable. The NHL Players’ Association and the NHL owners did not meet on Friday and there are no plans to meet today.

Gary Bettman, who was named the commissioner in 1993, said:

“Nobody wants to make a deal and play hockey more than I do… This is what I do. This is what my life is about in terms of how I spend most of my waking hours. This is really hard.”

The looming NHL lockout comes just a few years after the cancelled 2004-05 season.

Boston.com reports that the player’s association and the NHL owners are currently fighting over hockey-related revenue (HRR). Or, in other words, money.

The owners want to reduce the player’s 57% take of HRR down to 43% over the next six years. Their last proposal was to give players 49% in the first year, 48% in the second, and 47% during the last four. The NHLPA countered with an offer that would lower their take to 52.7% at the end of six years. The dispute does involve other factors but it’s HRR that the two parties can’t agree upon.

NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said:

“The players very much want to reach an agreement provided that it’s fair and equitable and treats them appropriately… We approach it as we always have: one day at a time. If we don’t find an agreement today, we hope tomorrow we find a way to make an agreement. If that doesn’t work, you get up the next day and think about it some more. We don’t have artificial deadlines.”

But there is a deadline. Tonight. According to the NY Rangers Blog, if the NHL lockout goes into effect tonight players will stop receiving paychecks. They will no longer be allowed to use team facilities and many will start looking at Europe as an alternative to the NHL.