Outta’ Right Field: NHLPA betrayed the fans

By Kevin Durso
October 24, 2012

Gary Bettman is seen here announcing the cancellation of the 2004-05 season on February 16, 2005. The NHL is currently in its third lockout under Bettman’s tenure as NHL commissioner. (MCT)

From last Tuesday afternoon to last Thursday afternoon, it looked like all of the problems for hockey fans were over.

Then, just like that – just like in 2004 – it was taken away.

Hockey fans in the United States haven’t had it easy trying to track their favorite players when they are playing in 15 different locations at one time. There are players in Russia, players in Germany, NHLers in the minor leagues.

Last week, the NHL union made an offer to the players that appeared to be the common ground needed to strike a deal. 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue seemed to be that common ground.

Quickly, the players found fault with it. They claimed they wouldn’t be getting their fair share because it would technically be a 56-57 percent share for the owners.

The NHLPA made four counter-offers. All were declined.

The lockout is still alive and well much to the dismay of hockey fans. The entire October portion of the schedule has been cancelled. Unless the two sides, both of which have no plans for future discussions at this time, come to terms by the end of the week, the 82-game season will officially be lost. At best, the NHL could still play a shortened season.

In all of this, the players lied to the fans.

They said they wanted to get back on the ice as soon as possible. They said they felt the pain of the fans. So in their most recent negotiations, they thought of themselves before they thought of the fans and the good of the game.

They had the union and commissioner Gary Bettman on their knees, essentially begging to return for an entire season. After all the darkness has been turned to the money-hungry owners and all the sympathy went to the players, the tables have turned. The players sank to a low level by not taking the offer.

Now, it appears the hockey season will be delayed until at least New Year’s 2013. Perhaps it lasts even longer than that. At this point, who knows if the puck hits the ice at all this season.

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Kevin Durso

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