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Notes from Donald Fehr’s conference call with reporters

Aug 17, 2012, 4:05 PM EDT

Donald Fehr Getty Getty Images

As promised, here’s a brief rundown of NHLPA chief Donald Fehr’s conference call with reporters following a regional union meeting in Chicago.

To be perfectly honest, most of it was the same-old-same-old, but here goes anyway:

—- Fehr reiterated that if there’s going to be a lockout, it will be initiated by the owners, not the players — “Nobody on the players’ side is talking about stopping the season.” The union is willing to start the season without an agreement in place, but the NHL has said that won’t happen.

—- Fehr said the owners proposed “some additional revenue sharing;” however, that revenue-sharing would essentially be paid for with a “very large reduction in players’ salaries.”

—- The players’ proposed the creation of an “industry growth fund” totaling $100 million that would go to teams in financial need.

—- The NHLPA isn’t interested in changing the rules related to contracts. For example, the owners have proposed to change the minimum age that a player can become an unrestricted free agent from 25 years old (after seven years of NHL service) to 28 (after 10 years NHL service).

—- Fehr said it’s misguided to compare the revenue split in other leagues since revenues are calculated differently. For example, the way they calculate revenue in the NFL isn’t “even remotely” comparable to the NHL, according to Fehr.

—- Fehr expects to speak with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman over the weekend, with negotiations set to reconvene next week.


Related: Here’s “what you need to know” about the NHLPA’s proposal to the owners

  1. bcsteele - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I just posted the majority of this on a different page before this one came up but I just want to see if I’m the only one that feels this way so feel free to give some feedback. At the end of the day as a fan, I really just want to watch hockey, and I’d prefer to watch it ON TIME. If we need to implement some sort of version of revenue sharing that other leagues use but fit to us, let’s get working on it.

    Not to preach to the choir, but as many people have put on these post, the NHL will have grave losses in fan base if there is lockout. I’ll give a good example though. I have a group of friends and out of them I’m the only true hockey fan. However, I’ve since gotten them involved and they enjoy going to games now even though they’re not die hard fans. If a lock out happens, without me re-introducing them to the sport they will likely not remember how much fun they’ve had. The NHL knows a portion of it’s fan base will always be intact. But have they really considered the what I’d call “tertiary” fans that get brought in and will disperse if a lock out occurs? What would the financial outcome of that be now considered what happened back in 2004?

    I don’t claim to know it all, or state the obvious, nor would I jump out on a limb and tell them what they need to do…but I think the owners need to really start having the attitude of the players and recognize that a deal needs done and it needs done without a lock out for the sake of everyone involved…the owners, the players, and most importantly the fans.

  2. jimw81 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Some needs to explain to Bettman there is a reason why one trick pony only works once.

    • trom09 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      This is the problem. The players are willing to negotiate and start the season while still continuing to talk if need be.

      Almost right off the bat the owners come out and say, oh, well there will be a lockout if there is no CBA in place by 9/15. It is almost like Bettman and Co see a lockout as inevitable and can’t wait to lock out the players if they need to. Like I’ve read a few columnists say, an L word should be a LAST resort.

  3. kingfooj - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    “Not much new to report, but click on the link anyway.” love it

  4. charleslouis99 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    thank God the players are being rational about this.
    it looks like they’re putting a lot of thought into this, now the owners have to do their part.

  5. monsterhockey - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    I just cannot believe they are going to eff this up again. Goodbye growing fan base! IDIOTS

  6. jernster21 - Aug 17, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I think the only way this gets done is if it’s a 50/50 split of revenue, the players give the owners what they want in regards to free agency/contract length, etc and they nix the 4th year option. That MIGHT get us through 3 years but I guarantee the players are eventually going to tell the NHL owners to piss off and go play in the KHL or something instead. I don’t see how the NHL can keep playing this game though and stay in business themselves…after the last lock out they had a tv contract for OLN for god sake, granted now they sport the NBC brand but I don’t think they would put up with this for too long either, the next tv contract they sign will be on CSPAN because it’s too political for any other network.

    • revansrevenant - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:13 PM

      It’ll be on ESPN 8 “The Ocho”.

  7. cosmoandmelovepens - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    No I want a 50/50 split, same contracts(not the players fault gm’s cant control themselves) a luxury tax, hard cap, lowered salary cap, just by like 5 million, and a revenue sharing system that acually works. No point having one if it sucks.

  8. blomfeld - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    “can’t see the forest for the trees” …

    The owners and NHLPA would be well served to remember this timeless adage. Yes, revenues have improved in recent years and the game itself appears to be on a bit of an upswing. Nonetheless, when looked at in it’s entirety, much of this improvement is a classic financial “facade” … and therefore these people are now “jumping up and down” on very thin ice ! Notwithstanding the seven Canadian teams, the NHL is still very much a “regional” sport … not to mention that at least half of the league’s teams are in a negative cash flow situation or worse. The NFL, NBA or MLB they are not ! In fact, the NHL doesn’t even rank in the same conversation as things like Nascar or the Hunting Channel ! So needless to say, “pushing the envelope” like this is very “misguided” on the part of both owners and players alike. I love the game of hockey, as do all of you. But in the greater realm of sports, we hockey fans are nothing but a “drop in the bucket” when compared to the big picture. Not to mention that fact that today in 2012, the average consumer is cutting back on virtually everything. If we do lose this season, then I fear that this may come to hurt us more than we could ever imagine … 😦

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