Bill Daly

Well we’re off! As the week ended and some down time was rewarded for some hard discussions across the table, the NHL Owners group left the meetings on Friday with the first card drawn.

It was stated the the league had made the first initial offer to the NHL-PA with some major changes in it from the last previous one.

The proposal included a reduction of players hockey-related revenues from 57 per cent to 46 per cent. Also players are to wait 10 seasons before becoming unrestricted free agents and that contracts be limited to a maximum of five years. Plus there is more. The proposal also stated that it would bring an end to salary arbitration and that entry level contracts would 5 years instead of 3 as they are under the current CBA.

The NHL would also like to eliminate signing bonuses on future contracts and mandate that all future deals have an equal value for every year of the contract. Well then, You have to start some where, don’t you?

Now before you all get your shorts in a knot, which I know some of you already have, because I’m reading off news sites and the common hockey folk is blasting the NHL owners and Mr. Evil, oops sorry, Mr Bettman for pulling this first maneuver but lets be realistic here folks, the NHLPA does have some good things going for them.

For example if you took the NFL agreement the football players only have a 50% revenue sharing agreement and the average football player makes more then most NHL players. So we need to get all the facts straight before we start throwing the ‘ol darts at you know who!

But you say, Hey Coach look at the last CBA, the players gave up way to much. Oh did they Einstein, again get the facts straight buddy because if you look at the revenue that has been generated since that agreement I think they players have done pretty good for themselves.

Ok, now I can hear ya out there, Aw Coach you’re backing the ‘Big Corporate Guys’ well maybe I am and maybe I ain’t! You see I feel for both sides because, guys and gals all this is business and BIG BUSINESS it is.

Taking a closer look at things, we could all agree that there is 4 to 5 teams in the NHL who are on top of the revenue earnings, right. The rest of the teams may earn a small profit and may lose money and these teams have owners who are successful, very rich and happen to love hockey. So these guys barely break even or lose the cash every year which all comes out of their own tils right, so let me ask you this Million dollar question! If you were in their ‘ruby’ shoes, would you not be asking for what they are asking for? I thought so. These owners are no dumb-dumbs, their smart people who realize they won’t make money in this and if they do one year they know they won’t the next. They could easly invest this cash into something else that would return a much better, healthier profit but maybe they don’t because, just maybe they are as passionate about this game as you are (whoah! that hurt didn’t it?)

Now guys, don’t get me wrong. Some of these owners seem to be doing things ass backwards in my way of thinking too. Tell me why they are giving out so long a year contracts then coming into these talks they want to reduce them? I think its away of saying, ‘We’re wrong for doing this but I have this BIG ego that I need to it’ that’s my take on it and now Bettman is telling them, you can’t keep doing this or we all will go broke.

You also have to look at how the owners go about their business through us the fans. Revenue needs to go up as the players contracts go up and get longer. Pray-tell who is going to pay for these guys to go around the frozen pond and chase a little black disk, helloooo you guys, you the fans are and the sooner we all realize this and shut up about it all the better. My dad used to say,’ If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen bud!’ So if you don’t like it don’t pay the prices and don’t go to the games. It’s tough for the owners with teams in non-winter environment centers as for selling the game there is like selling a fridge to a Eskimo. So if the owners can work out a agreement with the NHLPA on revenue sharing that might benefit them in the long run then that covers their loses on a yearly basis.

I guess what gets be going against the owners is that some want new arenas and they go to the City’s and want the townsfolk to foot the bill (Thats your tax money friends) well I would tell the owners to dust-off because if you want my hard earn money then I want part ownership of the team (lets see what they say then!) but this owner is the ‘Big Cheese’ of the team then he should have to foot the bill right? Well I could get into that topic real deep but I won’t right now because it would all turn into a political speech, who gets what favour and so on, not worth it guys.

So back to what we have been talking about here. I read an article lately about this CBA and how the players feel that they are being dealt a bad hand. Well I got wind of this soldier who wrote into one of the newspaper and gave a very good wake up call,
it went something this.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to earn a profit in business and earn a wage for working. Everyone should be treated equal to do so in my eyes. If a business fails, the owner takes the risks here, the employees can move onto something else but the owner suffers the burden of the fail business. As a career soldier, I have spent my life living and working all over the world, in some of the harshest climates there are. The whole time not seeing my wife or family, no weekends or holidays and with a bunch of people trying to make my life hell. Yes I always felt I was compensated fairly (sometimes complaining maybe not but usually yes) I find it very hard to agree with the players who say the aren’t being treated fairly. Please also don’t whine about the travel and away from the family (try flying in sub-zero climate on a pallet in a C-130 for 12 hours), there are men and ladies away from families overseas, alot further away living on 40 grand a year not 2.4 million. One other thing. Don’t talk to me about careers are short, they need to maximize their income, tell me who today has job security? Who has the ability to work 10 years and then be in a position to make sure their grandchildren never have to work When I’m done here I will be looking for a real job.

Also don’t get me going on how big business and their owners have it hard, you guys signed up for it now didn’t you? As mentioned before you are willing to take the risks with your cash then don’t come crying to me as a tax paying citizen to help you foot some bills that the City won’t pay for.

These people need to take a long look at themselves then take another long look at the real world out there. Maybe I have been hit the head to many times to understand all what they are going through (thats the players and owners) but I will tell you one thing for sure, these guys need to deal with it and stop looking for sympathy from the public sector. Lets face it, this is a sport we are talking about. The business of sport is not the same as the real world, at least not in my eyes. Maybe these guys need to walk in my shoes for a bit!

Well maybe all of us need to!

I wish all the best to the NHLPA and the League Owners because all I would ask for is a quick CBA and an understanding in all this too!

By Warren Nye,
July 17th, 2012