8:44AM EDT October 27. 2012 – What the league, the NHL Players’ Association and fans had to say about Friday’s cancellations:
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly
“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. 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 regular season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
“We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the players and the clubs — one that will be good for the game and our fans.”
NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr
“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have canceled another slate of regular season games.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.
“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. Honoring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes, they rejected all of our proposals.
“Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no preconditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their ‘make whole’ provision.
“The message from the owners seems to be: if you don’t give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon.”
“In all honesty, I am not surprised about the latest cancellations. I knew they wouldn’t keep their word on canceling games in a 2 week block. I think it’s the NHL’s way of trying to get the players to cave since that’s a lot of games to not get paid and most owners can afford it. So, hopefully they work something out in the meantime so they can add some of November’s games back. But, if this keeps up, just cancel the entire season already. Stop getting the fans’ hopes up that there will be a season or better yet, sit in a room, lock the doors until a deal is reached! It really shouldn’t be this hard so someone needs to put on their big boy pants and get it done! I need the NHL, especially Rockin’ the Red, back in my life! So, I don’t care about a full season, all I want is to see ALL the teams back in action and whatever fans are left standing, back in the arenas.”
Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith
“The way that the NHL is working right now is they’re following everything by what the NBA did, and that’s no surprise to us. If they really wanted an 82-game schedule and they really cared about the fans like the players do, I think they would have came with that proposal before they went so far away from the players that it took them a month to get back to the point they’re at right now. It takes everything away from the players. The players gain nothing by signing the agreement they have on the table right now. If we keep giving in every single time there’s a new collective bargaining agreement up for negotiation, it’s just going to keep going on like this. Six years from now they’re going to want more money. Gary (Bettman), obviously, he says he cares about the fans but in reality, if he cared about the fans that much he wouldn’t keep taking away from the players to try to put more money in the owners’ pockets. It’s sad because we want to play as much as the fans want to see us play. It’s disappointing, obviously.”
Dallas Stars fan Mike Drago
A fan’s promise to both sides: Upon your return, I will stay away from the American Airlines Center one day for each day of the lockout. I hope others will join me, and maybe fans won’t be forgotten so easily next time around. And there’s always a next time with these guys.
Nashville Predators player rep David Legwand
“Guys will be fine. Guys will be overseas playing and doing those types of things. You have to stay unified and get the right deal for the players and owners and let everyone work together and grow the game.”
New York Islanders fans Faye Barth
“A small group of hard-line owners is killing the NHL. Their tactics (gag rule on all owners, refusal to negotiate unless the NHLPA caves in. and fast trigger finger in canceling games) gives away their true agenda. Then there is the issue of bringing in a right-wing consultant as a spin doctor. Another fact is that this small group (less than one-third of the owners) can block any deal, even if one was to be reached, because Bettman and the hard-liners got the charter changed. Blame for this whole mess belongs to the NHL, period.
Pittsburgh Penguins fan Mike Swartz
“I’m a season ticket holder, and as a die-hard fan one that the NHL and NHLPA takes for granted in an HRR way. Even as such, I am missing hockey less and less by the day, as the bickering over my money (the fans) becomes more and more tiresome. This is coming from someone who plays beer league hockey (two leagues), twice a week. If I’m not an ardent fan, I don’t know the definition.
“The latest ‘whispers’ from players is some expect games by Thanksgiving. If they don’t figure it out by then, they better realize HRR won’t be $3.3B as a baseline. They better be prepared to take a real haircut, because it’s coming, Somehow the league and players still haven’t come to grips that the world has and is going through economic contraction, and they can’t just see an upward graph of ticket prices spiraling upward forever as a truth. $4.50 cups of coffee is not reality. They better start figuring out what the new reality is, or be a case study on how to implode a multibillion-dollar business model.:
Josh Crockett, Carolina Hurricanes fan in Charlottesville, Va.
“I’ve traveled to attend games in 13 different NHL rinks across the U.S. and Canada in the past 10 years, and between the full November cancellation and the strong hint at axing the Winter Classic, never have I felt dumber for caring about NHL hockey than today.”