A couple days ago, we talked about the reasons and the effects of this NHL Lockout, but in Part Two, we will answer the question that every hockey fan is trying to figure out… What are the NHL players doing now?
With the NHL lockout entering its second month, a lot of dedicated fans are wondering where their idols and stars are taking their talents. Many are heading to European leagues, while eligible players are being assigned to minor leagues.
Some players aren’t really doing anything; just praying a deal is made so they can go back to work. An interesting event last month was when players in certain Canadian teams filed grievances against their team owners for the lockout, citing that under local provincial law a lockout is illegal and have pled their case to their respective labor boards in Quebec and Alberta. As of today the Quebec labor board denied the sixteen players from the Montreal Canadians their request for an injunction, while the labor board in Alberta has a hearing pending.
Looking at it from the players’ perspective makes it seem that they are more justified in their frustration over these talks. If company heads walked up to me and my coworkers and said that all employees are taking 24% pay cuts so we can spread revenue to the weaker parts of the company, I, along with most other people I’m sure would be quite upset and would want to do something about it, possibly even leave the company.
Alex Ovechkin, the star from the Washington Capitals has even insinuated that if the players have to receive pay cuts like the owners want; he might just stay and play in Russia instead of coming back to the NHL. I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t the only one thinking this.
The majority of hockey fans are pleading and praying for this lockout to end. But as the days and weeks go by and still hardly a sign of an agreement coming, it looks as if for the second time in 9 years there will be no NHL for an entire season. The NHL will lose its stable growth in the sports industry that it has enjoyed since the last lockout. If fans are going to go through a lockout every decade then soon there won’t be enough fans to provide the revenue that each side desperately wants. When the NHL has a lockout the league loses billions of dollars, thousands, or maybe even millions of casual fans, as well losing the respect of the die-hard fans.
Update: Looking Back…
The Capitals returned to action on January 19th after the lockout finally ended. They dropped their first game 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and finished the regular season 27-18. Because of the shortened season, the Capitals earned home field advantage with that record, but lost the first series 3-4 to the New York Rangers.
Since the NHL and its players were able to come to an agreement, it appears as if there will be no major ripple effect from the second lockout to occur in less than 10 years. Arenas were full, merchandise was purchased, sports betting resumed and a Stanley Cup was won. Hockey fans are happy, the NHL is happy. Everyone wins.
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