North American ice hockey players locked out

This music video is a satirical song on the NHL hockey lockout in the USA and Canada.

By Alexander Fangmann:

NHL lockout of players continues

4 October 2012

The owners of National Hockey League (NHL) teams began a lockout of players on September 16. So far, all preseason games have been canceled due to the lockout, and regular season games will soon be affected. Many players have already begun signing limited-term contracts in European leagues, and more are expected to follow if the stoppage is extended.

The NHL team owners initiated the lockout in order to extract massive concessions from players, in a manner that recalls not only last year’s NBA lockout and the recent lockout of NFL referees, but also the attitude taken by the ruling elite to autoworkers, machinists, and teachers in other contract negotiations.

The attitude of the NHL owners to the players was aptly summed up by Jim Devellano, senior vice president and alternate governor of the Detroit Red Wings, in an interview with the Island Sports News. Devellano commented, “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.” Though undoubtedly an accurate reflection of owners’ sentiments, Devellano was fined $250,000 by the league for making unauthorized comments.

Key aspects of the NHL’s initial offer to players surround pay, contract lengths, and conditions. In particular, the league is demanding a reduction in the players’ share of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) from the current level of 57 percent to 46 percent, although changes in how that figure is calculated would mean that the targeted HRR for the players would be closer to 43 percent under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Because the HRR figure determines the amount of money distributed to players under the salary cap system, a reduction in the HRR percentage would mean that all players would suffer a 24 percent rollback in salary from their contracts.

This change would represent a massive windfall for many team owners, entirely at the expense of players. The modifications to the HRR formula would exempt the owners from paying the players for many of the general costs of running a professional sports team, such as arena costs, as well as administrative staff expenses. Essentially, the league’s owners are shifting the costs of doing business onto the shoulders of the players.

In addition, the league also wants to extend the length of time that young players must be held to entry-level contracts.

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