NHL shelves regular-season games through Nov. 30
New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The NHL has shelved regular-season games through November after the league’s self-imposed Thursday deadline expired without any clear sign of reaching a new labor agreement.
With the third cancellation since the lockout started last month, the league has now dropped 326 regular-season games – 26.5 percent of the season — from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30.
Assuming that the November games would be eventually cancelled, the NHL will lose $720 million in hockey-related revenue, estimated NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
Last week, the NHL cancelled games through Nov. 1 before submitting a latest proposal to the players’ union, which includes a 50-50 split in hockey revenue.
The players’ union, however, responded with a trio of its own offers that were all rejected by the league within 10 minutes.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was hoping that a deal could be reached by Thursday to save an 82-game season starting Nov. 2
“By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term collective bargaining agreement that would have preserved an 82-game season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur,” Daly said.
For its part, the NHL Players Association said it was not surprised with the cancellation.
“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise,” said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
“Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players’ share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honor contracts they have already signed,” Fehr added.
Aside from cancellation of games, the labor impasse could jeopardize the league’s marquee event, the Winter Classic. According to a source, the annual outdoor game may be canceled as early as next week
The NHL has until Nov. 2 to cancel the Winter Classic without having to reimburse the University of Michigan for expenses related to the event. The league will only forfeit $100,000 of the $3 million stadium rental fee.
“I’m not going to give you an exact timetable, but at some point in November,” Bettman said. “We will have to commit many millions of dollars to get ready for the Winter Classic, so if there’s still uncertainty, we’re going to have to make a decision and my guess is, we’re not going to commit those dollars unless we have certainty.”