NHL imposes league-wide lockout after CBA talks fail
New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – For the second time in eight years, the NHL has imposed a league-wide lockout after the league and its players failed to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement.
In a last-ditch effort, the NHL Players Association tried to convince the league to continue talks but was rejected, paving the way for the work stoppage which last occurred during the 2004-05 season.
“Today, we suggested that the parties meet in advance of the owners’ self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight. Don Fehr, myself and several players on the negotiating committee were in the city and prepared to meet. The NHL said that it saw no purpose in having a formal meeting,” NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said in a statement.
After having lunch with Fehr Saturday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly explained the league’s rejection of the union’s offer, stressing additional talks would be futile especially that the two sides are far apart on core economic issues of a new deal.
“We spoke today and determined that there was no point in convening a formal bargaining session in light of the fact that neither side is in a position to move off of its last proposal,” Daly said.
“I’m sure we will keep in touch in the coming days and schedule meetings to the extent they might be useful or appropriate. We are sorry for where we are. Not what we hoped or expected,” he added.
During the course of the lockout, the league’s website has removed any reference to current players and all player images while the NHL’s online store also pulled any player-related gear, and all jerseys for sale were blank.
Before the lockout, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that he received a unanimous vote from the league’s board to impose a work stoppage if a new CBA will not be reached.
League superstar Sidney Crosby, speaking in behalf of other players, said they are frustrated because of the league’s decision to lock them out, despite their willingness to give in to some of its demands.
“We’ve shown we’re willing to give, but they’ve got to be willing,” Crosby said. “It seems like there’s a pretty hard line there, and they’re not willing to budge.”
Crosby and other players are planning to play overseas in the event of a lockout.