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Need to know: Potential NHL lockout

Melanie Anderson | Interrobang | Sports | September 10th, 2012



This time of year, NHL fans are usually gearing up for the upcoming season, buying tickets for their favourite teams and completing fantasy drafts with their friends. But with the NHL lockout deadline coming up on September 15 and no deal in place, it could be a while before fans see that first puck drop. Let's get down to the facts.

Who's involved?
- The National Hockey Leagues Players' Association (NHLPA), led by executive director Donald Fehr

- The NHL owners, represented by League Commissioner Gary Bettman

What are they debating about?
- Money! What else is new? Bettman said he believes the owners are paying the players too much, and the players disagree. There was a salary cap created in 2004, and NHL revenues have grown to about $3.3 billion annually

- As of September 6, the NHL proposed a deal that would see players receive 46 per cent of revenues, but the union argued that the negotiations should be measured closer to the current position of 57 per cent

- Although both sides seem ready and willing to discuss the issues, not much progress has been made

How much do NHL players typically make?
- The average player makes $2.4 million per year and $13 to $14 million in his career

Has there ever been a lockout?
- Yes, in 2004 the entire season was cancelled

- The issues were similar, focusing on revenue and salaries

- Other issues: higher player fines, playoff bonuses, scheduling

What's social media's role in all of this?
- Many hockey experts are noting that social media wasn't as popular in 2004 as it is now. Many NHL players and fans are using Twitter and Facebook to voice their opinions about the potential lockout

- One 21-year-old fan from Finland created a video to try to unite hockey fans and discourage the lockout from happening. It's gained international attention and nearly 300,000 views on YouTube: tinyurl.com/youtube-nhlfanvid2012

Important dates:
- September 15: Expiration date for the Collective Bargaining Agreement between NHL and NHL Players' Association

- September 19: NHL preseason schedule begins

- September 26: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs NHL preseason game at the John Labatt Centre

- October 11: 2012/13 NHL regular season begins
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