Been There, Done That, Don’t Want To Go Through That Again

Posted: August 28, 2012 in Flyers
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman fields a question after announcing that the entire 2004-2005 NHL season has been cancelled due to a labor dispute. (Picture courtesy of Paul Chiasson/Associated Press)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman fields a question after announcing that the entire 2004-2005 NHL season has been cancelled due to a labor dispute. (Picture courtesy of Paul Chiasson/Associated Press)

The National Hockey League is currently in the midst of negotiations with  the Players Association (NHLPA) regarding the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NHL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, was reached on July 13, 2005, is set to expire on September 15th. If no deal is reached by then, the NHL will (once again) lockout its players.

If this happens it will mark the third time the NHL has entered a lockout.

The 1994-1995 season was reduced from the planned 84 games to 48 games and began on January 20 1995. The season ended on May 3rd, marking the first time that the regular season ended in May. 10 years later, in 2004, the Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended the 3 month, 1 week, 3 day lockout in 1994 expired.

This lead to another labor dispute which, in turn, led to another lockout. This lockout was much more significant and lasted 10 months and 6 days. It also resulted in the cancellation of the entire 2004-2005 NHL season,  which marked the first time ever that a major sports league cancelled an entire season due to a labor dispute.

That long lockout finally ended on July 22, 2005 after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified.

There was a common trend in each lockout, which NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman alluded to a few days ago: The fans kept coming back despite the stoppages.

Bettman was quoted as saying “We recovered last time because we have the world’s greatest fans”. This shows that, while neither side wants a lockout, Bettman and the NHL appear to be content with locking out its players if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not reached.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement, ratified in 2005, is set to expire on September 15, 2012. Each passing day, a lockout, not only looms closer, but becomes more and more of a reality.

And by the way the negotiations are going, things are not exactly looking up.

Yes, NHL fans love their hockey, that’s why the came back, and more than ever, after the ’94-’95 lockout and the ’04-’05 lockout, the second of which cancelled an entire season. And , while fans (myself included) have been through this before and have come back from this even stronger, It would be awfully nice of the NHL to treat their devoted fans to another season of hockey and not another season of labor disputes.

I, like most fans, am hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.

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