It’s time for the moderate owners to take a stand

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

We are very close to losing the hockey season. Believe it.

And no it’s not the fault of one person, who, for the sake of our story, we’ll call Gary ‘I hate hockey’ Bettman. No it’s the fault of 31 very wealthy individuals – the 30 National Hockey League owners and Bettman. I’m sick and tired of the discourse suggesting it’s the fault of both sides, both of whom are spoiled rich kids. False!

Think about it for a second. What kind of business locks out its employees every single time the collective agreement ends? Imagine if – oh let me pick a company name out of a hat – Molson Coors did that. That it locked out its staffers every time the contract expired instead of negotiating.

Just imagine how Canadians would feel about that. It would be totally unacceptable. It goes against everything we believe in. Unions have a right to exist Gary and it’s is totally despicable that you’re trying to crush one. This is the third straight time Bettman has responded to the end of a collective agreement with the sledgehammer that is a lockout.

The argument goes that the players are millionaire whiners. That they should just shut up and play.  But if they are exceptionally well-paid, it’s because they make money for the owners. The owners make money. You know that. Revenue has been on the rise big-time since the last collective agreement was put in place.

Sure there are teams that lose money – but that’s because Bettman has been pushing hockey into places like Phoenix and Nashville where the sport will never be a money-maker. All the signs prove that but Bettman refuses to budge because……well because he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t back down once he takes a decision.

Habs owner Geoff Molson says he has full confidence in Mr. Bettman: “Gary’s in charge of our league, he’s doing a good job, and it’s a process that’s underway that I’m not going to get involved with publicly.”

In the same piece by Gazette sports scribe Dave Stubbs, Molson says he is not actively involved in the negotiations, confirming many of our worst fears. In other words, Bettman is running the show Captain Queeg-style – ask your dad about the character, the oppressive leader in Herman Wouk’s great novel The Caine Mutiny – with the support of a small cabal of the most radical anti-union leaders. People like Jeremy Jacobs in Boston who, as Pat Hickey writes in his column Saturday, “appears to be motivated by greed. He’d like to pad his profit margin without having to share with any of his less fortunate players.”

On Friday, Bettman and his union-bashers cancelled games through Dec. 14, along with the All-Star game, which was set to take place in Columbus. (Again, kudos to Bettman. Here you have a great chance to boost the sport in a place like Columbus, Ohio that needs all the convincing possible to watch hockey and you nuke that opportunity. Way to go pal!)

Richard Labbe in La Presse notes that the owners have now cancelled 34.3-percent of the season. Meanwhile Donald Fehr mentions once again that the two sides are only $182 million apart and that each day of the lockout, per the owners’ stats, the league is losing between $18 and $20 million. So, Fehr adds, those two weeks just cancelled represents more than the $182 million that separates the two sides.

Get it? It’s not about money. The NHLPA has already lost this negotiation. They have agreed to a 50-50 split of revenue, which will cost the players hundreds of millions of dollars given that the players right now take home 57-percent of the revenue. $182 million is maybe two big player contracts. So no this isn’t a fight about bucks. It’s an attempt to destroy Fehr and his union. And that frankly is a repulsive thing to do and you don’t have to be a hockey fan to realize that this is not the kind of behaviour our society should be condoning.

So yeah, great job Gary.

– Brendan


  1. Stephen Sartori says:

    I Couldn’t Disagree With You More.

    If Mr. Beckmann and the owners are guilty of anything it’s agreeing to ridiculous conditions in the past that need to be rectified in the present to protect the future.
    The players perform and entertain and make a lot of money for the owners But they are only part of the story.
    The owners take risks and many are on the job all the time not just on the ice or in the gym. If most of the players tried to be business owners it would be as disastrous as the owners actually trying to play hockey.
    Most players are like many folks. I’ll do my job
    You’ll pay me and then I’m going home.
    Owners are owners because they don’t quit at
    “5” or stop for the weekend. They trade the piece of mind and more to become In fact owners and then they Risk it All to put the
    entire business together.
    When one side or the other exaggerates the religion of the ‘Practical Business Model’ always takes care of one side or the other.

    Ps: Enjoy your Musical Artist Presentations
    on Radio One in the morning

  2. JB says:

    We keep hearing that 8 teams didn’t make money last year. I can’t help but think that at all the teams that miss the playoffs should bebreaking even at best. The real payday for teams should be making the playoffs, and going deep. How else do you keep owners truly motivated to build great teams. If teams that didn’t make the playoffs are making lots of money, the system is broken.

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