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Fehr makes NHLPA’s case after November games canceled

Oct 26, 2012, 2:27 PM EDT

Donald Fehr AP

Following is a statement from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr after the NHL canceled games through November:

“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have canceled another slate of regular season games.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 pre-conditions. 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.”

Related: NHL “deeply regrets” canceled games, says Daly

  1. tmoore4075 - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    F**k all of you. I’m beyond sick of both sides. It’s worse than politics because at least there I can try to get someone removed by voting. I’m stuck with all these guys and their stupid crap and there is nothing I can do about it except just walk away.

  2. dutchman1350 - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Yawn…screw owners, and players. What about the local businesses? bartenders, waiters, waitresses, cooks, parking attendants, ushers, front office personnel? Meanwhile Fehr and Bettman argue over the fans money. Why not reduce ticket prices?

  3. capesouth - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I respect this statement more than Daly’s. The statements that say things like “we are deeply committed to solving this and playing hockey this year, etc etc” are almost insulting at this point. They are so generic and “by the book” that it comes across like this whole lockout is par for the course. At least Fehr speaks his mind a little bit. Overall, both sides are terrible at negotiating. There should be a provision saying when discussing lockouts, both sides are to sit in a room from 9:00 – 5:00 every day (like a job) and hash it out until there is a solution…not spend weeks apart from each other. The only way this gets resolved is by compromising and it takes actually speaking to one another, face-to-face, until a convincing argument is made by one side to initiate movement. Right now, there just going with “we want this and they want that”, assuming one side will have to completely come off their stance to get a deal…which is false.

  4. capesouth - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    There should actually be a third ‘party’ in these negotiations, some sort of fan/customer rep….. because they have 100% say over whether these businesses (each individual franchise) succeeds. I dont know how but fan/customer rep should be involved somehow in order to add that perspective to the conversation, rather than just players and owners fighting over money. At least acknowledging the fans in formal conversations might sway talks to actually be productive.

  5. dyrdom77 - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    “but we need a willing partner to negotiate.”….. The NHL and NHLPA have never been partners. If you (The NHLPA) were willing to be a partner, why don’t the players give 50% of their endorsements contracts to the NHL….that would be a partnership on the revenue .Last time i checked you are a employee and the NHL is the employer.

    • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      You are looking at it all wrong. The players are willing to meet half way, but the owners aren’t. The owners don’t want to honor the huge contracts that they foolishly signed over the last year. In fact they signed those players to monster contracts never intending to pay it. The Owners are the problem, not the players. Players are meeting half way, the owners aren’t compromising on ANYTHING. Who cares about the BILLIONAIRE owners? Screw them they don’t make hockey great.

      • chc4 - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        Is that you Barack?

      • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        @chc4 – And you must be the comedian… Well good to see you are siding with Billionaires. Very Barack of you.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        I’d say that’s very Romney rather than Barack, if anything.

      • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        $elvis – There is a difference between the two?

      • cardsandbluesforever - Oct 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

        the owners didnt “foolishly” offer any contracts- the owners wanted the rights to the player and offered them whatever it took to get a signature on the dotted line. they knew they would try to force down salaries after the CBA expired, but still wanted rights to big name talent. pretty shady way to run a team or a league. if i were those players i would renig on any contract signed in the last year.” you want my salary reduced ? fine, but dont expect me to play for your team if you’re not going to honor your contract.”

        you think the owners dont talk to each other? they KNEW they were going down this road and tried to take advantage of the situation.

  6. chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    The owners are like little spoiled brats who whine when they don’t get exactly what they want. Grow up owners and meet the players half way. This lockout is because of the owners. They voted for it. They could have played this season out under last year’s rules and continued to negotiate. This is a joke. People need to pressure the owners to stop being so stubborn and to meet the players half way. The players are willing to compromise, but the owners refuse.

    • chc4 - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Hmm, owners went from 57-43 to 50-50 yet they aren’t willing to compromise? The players would have no incentive to “negotiate” if the owners agreed to play out this season under existing CBA rules. Spare us all the union kumbaya nonsense and rejoin us from your parallel universe.

      • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        43 was a ridiculous number that people laughed out. They started ridiculously low hoping to get what they really want at 50. 50 was their first real offer.

    • buckeye044 - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      No way any major sports league will go into a season with an expired CBA.

      See MLB 1994.

      • buckeye044 - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        Probably should also have said

        See MLB 1994…….and the head of the players union.

  7. elvispocomo - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    What I don’t understand is how the NHL tried so hard to even the PR battle with their good-at-first-glance 50/50 offer but then followed that up with looking at 3 counter-proposals from the NHLPA for only 15 minutes before saying no and then refusing to negotiate on anything but their “best offer” proposal, effectively cancelling more games without facilitating discussion.

    • georgiared - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:13 AM

      It only took the NHL 15 minutes because 2 of he offers were on a sheet of paper and the other Fehr pulled out of his butt and it gave the players a higher percentage of the HRR:

      On Thursday, he walked into a significant meeting with several NHL owners 90 minutes late, plopped down two single sheets of paper, each with a different skeleton proposal to the owners that didn’t include any ideas on systemic issues, then verbally delivered a third proposal with no accompanying paperwork. For all three proposals, he acknowledged to the owners he hadn’t actually “run the numbers.”

      http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/nhl/article/1274610–nhl-lockout-players-pay-now-for-nhlpa-coup-cox

      Now consider that this was the first PA offer since Sept. 15th. Over a month later you have 2 sheets of paper that doesn’t address a single issue? What the crap you been doin?

      • valoisvipers - Oct 27, 2012 at 8:57 PM

        Thank you for speaking the truth.

  8. szwhtsup123 - Oct 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    At this point keep your season, keep your money, keep your game, you suck! Wanna know why and when I really got into hockey? In 1994 as I was so disgusted with the baseball strike I decided I wasn’t watching it anymore. I discovered hockey and rarely watched baseball after that as it is a far more exciting game and atheletes are much better skilled. At one time I went to 26 home games in one season without being a season ticket holder. I lived for and watched the games religiously. After the last strike and canceled season I slowly came back but this time Fehr and Bettman can both kiss my ass. I just can’t see a valid reason why the two of them can’t come to an agreement. People everywhere, world wide come to compromises every day and work things out, and these two buttheads have to go through this every few years. The fans are the real losers here as usual, and personally I look forward to the money I’ll be saving not watching your game run by your sorry ass leaders. Note to league, Bettman and Fehr: Bite me!

  9. id4joey - Oct 26, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Every is so irrational here. Mind blowing. Relax! It’s only October! What are you getting so antsy about? We should do something else with our time. I don’t know, read a book, workout, go to bars, movies, anything that will relax you until either the season starts or gets cancelled. You can rant, curse, name call all you want when we know the season is cancelled. Right now let the business men solve their problems. Hey. Read a book about labor negotiations. That would help you fall a sleep or educate you on the process.
    Negotiating a Labor Contract: A Management Handbook (Hardcover)
    Charles S. Loughran

    • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      We would all have more patience if we didn’t miss a season just 7 years ago.

      • id4joey - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:20 PM

        I know. But, what can we expect? A signed CBA for 20 years…. Listen, I’m pissed because for the first time in my life I could be going to every game as opposed to 3 or 4 a year. I love this sport. Played, couched and scouted a very competitve levels. Now! I’m pissed. I will be more pissed if they cancel the season, and that I just cant see happening. Denial? Maybe! Positive wishing? Certainly! I’ll be uopset if the cancel the season. Now? Yes I’m pissed, but I m not loosing money like those who depend on the game for extra cash. They are the real ones hurting not thge owners, players, or even us.

      • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        My point is I think the fans impatience and frustration is justified because we were forced through this 7 years ago and they have the arrogance to put us through this again. The truth is if they meet half way on these issues they can get a deal done. I don’t see the owners meeting anyone halfway.

  10. hsnepts - Oct 26, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I’m with you all when I say that I hate both the NHL and NHLPA. But reading the comments, it seems that most of you are missing something here. Here’s my rant:

    A lot of you seem to think that these owners are all raking in billions in the NHL. A big bunch of greedy billionaires.

    that simply isnt the case. Sure, some owners are rich. At the same time, some of these owners can’t even sell their teams. For half the owners, being in the NHL is a money-losing business. If the owners were getting fair return on their investments, there would be other billionaires interested in getting in on the action. But there isnt. Pick up a Forbes magazine once in a while. Half the NHL owners want to sell, but there’s no buyers. The NHL has been trying to sell the Coyotes for years. no buyers.

    How do you people resolve these 2 facts in your minds? You think the owners are greedy rich billionaires, but for some reason no other billionaire out there wants anything to do with the NHL?

    The truth is, the business side of the league is suffering. they are not getting fair return on their investments. They could get better return investing elsewhere. If the league guarantees the existing contracts, and we continue with a 43-57 split for the next few years, bettman is going to have an EXODUS of owners on his hands. The value of the existing franchises will tank.

    The players position is very selfish – they want their money – they are not trying to create a business environment where both parties can succeed. They just want to stand back and say – ‘if the owners cant make money its their own fault’.

    The owners are not going to sign a CBA that means they lose money. So unless the players quit being so selfish, there will be no hockey.

    • id4joey - Oct 26, 2012 at 5:25 PM

      hsnepts, finally a perspective from the business side. How refreshing is that? Few here will want to even try to comprehend what you wrote, but at least you put it out there. Thanks, friend.

    • dagassa - Oct 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      hsnepts, you make a valid point but it completely ignores the fact that the owners have put themselves in this position. How can you sign a player to a 10 year $100 million dollar deal one week and then turn around next week a complain that you’re broke and losing money. What’s worse is that they appeared to hand out these contracts with no intention of ever paying them. In a sense, the players have to make all the concessions to save the owners from themselves.

      Regarding the players being selfish and not creating an environment where both parties can succeed, I don’t buy that one bit! The players want to be paid the value of their contracts. The contracts that the owners gave them of their own free will. The owners spent frivolously and now they’re crying about it. Is that the players fault? I’d say no.

      • dagassa - Oct 26, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        I should have said “a valid point about the NHL being a money losing business”.

      • id4joey - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        dagassa, I agree with you on the following; the owners put themselves in this position with respect to signing players to luctrative contracts before the lockout, and they need to be protected from themselves.

        1) before the lockout they were playing by the rules of the CBA in effect at that time. Since these guys are very competitive and want to win they gave out those huge contracts.

        2) they need a new CBA to protect themselves from themselves. i.e. front loaded contracts, long term contracts, etc….

        They also want to increase their profits, or put another way, minimize their loses by going 50/50 split like other pro leagues. I admit that I don’t know what legal obligations they have to honor those contracts we referenced above. What is it they want? What part of those contracts do they not want to honor?

      • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:15 PM

        Very good point Dagassa. For owners who are broke they sure don’t act like it. Personally I don’t beleive it at all. They just signed a monster TV contract and have had record revenue the last seven years. Yes, I do beleive that there are certain franchises with money issues, but again that is the NHLs fault for allowing teams in markets that can’t afford them. Also I do think some of these teams are just poorly ran. Furthermore I do think the NHL owners go out of their way to exagerate some of these financial struggles to validate thier demands for a bigger piece of the pie. These issues can be fixed by moving franchises to cities that can better afford them like my current home in Las Vegas. This city has the money and would love to support a hockey team. That is just one example. Also these franchises that are not making money need to take responsibility for themselves instead of having the more successful teams bail them out. We don’t need teams in cities like Phx that don’t support the team.

      • hsnepts - Oct 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM

        hold on. If you want to talk about fault – you are absolutely right. The mess of the current economic situation of the NHL is the owners fault. Absolutely. The players cannot be faulted for signing contracts – it’s not the players who have taken bad bets like hockey in the desert.

        But if the players stand there and say ‘hey, its your fault you can’t make money – now give my mine’, then we arent going to have any hockey. Full stop.

        When you are sitting down to plan out the multi-billion dollar economic plan of an entire sports league for the next 5+ years, you have to create an environment where all the parties involved can succeed.

        What the players saying is ‘sure, that sounds good, but you still owe me from your previous mistakes’.

        The NHL is trying to correct the business. This is the same business that relentlessly markets these players, so that they can become rich and famous. But the NHL can’t, because of the players position.

        You might agree with the player’s stance, and believe it is about principles, but I’m suggesting that the only principles that matter now are creating an economic environment for the next decade so that everyone can flourish – the owners, the league, the game and the players.

      • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM

        - The Owners are making money. THE MAJORITY of them! Ya They just trippled revenue. They are full of it!! They have not proven financial struggles to anyone. Teams like Phx problems aren’t going to be solved with a new CBA. They need to move to a better city.

      • dagassa - Oct 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        hsnepts, again, you make a GREAT argument and for the most part I agree with what you’re are saying BUT, how much do the players have to give until the owners pull their heads out and get it right? There has been 3 lockouts now and the players are the ones who are forced make it right (or at least better) each time. If the players cave AGAIN and give the owners what they want (or need if you were to ask them) then the next time the CBA comes up for renewal where do you think we will end up? 40/60 owners next time? Can anybody say lockout?

        The owners are the guys that are supposed to be financial wizards here but for whatever reason, they just can’t seem to figure it out. At some point, they either have to live or die by the contracts they sign. If they can’t honor their commitments, then they need to take the first train out of town and let someone else who is better at handling money give it a try. Remember, the owners make the offers. The players either accept or they don’t.

      • georgiared - Oct 27, 2012 at 2:34 AM

        Vegas will NOT support a NHL franchise for a few reasons:

        1. Fan base-LV has a very small local population(31st in the U.S). Now they do average 40 million visitors a year, but how many of those visitors are gonna come there for tuesday night game vs. Carolina? Another problem is that many of the city’s population, i.e. the potential local fan base, works at night in the hospitality industry.

        2. TV market-Only seven U.S. sports teams are based in television markets smaller than Las Vegas and four of those are NFL teams for whom the size of the local TV market really doesn’t affect the bottom line due to the league’s national TV deal.

        3.Competition for dollar- There’s a lot of competition for the entertainment dollar in Las Vegas. So there’s no guarantee that a pro team would play to sold-out crowds.

        4.Casinos-I wish I could find the article on ESPN(or maybe it was SI, can’t remember) that went into detail about how casinos could(and might) block a professional team from succeding(was talking about MLB, but it applied to all leagues with exception of maybe NFL). Basically, it refers back to #3 by stating that if 14,000 people go to a game, guess where those 14,000 people aren’t going to? That’s right, the casinos. Casinos buy the tickets(assuring patrons spend their money elsewhere, like in the casinos instead), but just hold onto them, thus no one can go to the game. TV shows only empty seats(bringing in point #2), thus no business wants to advertise to an empty arena, so no money to be made there. Now you have an empty arena, with hardly any advertising, & no one watching at home cause they are either working or at Cirque du soleil.

      • valoisvipers - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        These ridiculous contracts that you speak of friend, are what the 57% makes up, and then each Oct 2nd the players get another cheque of additional monies to pay exactly the whole 57% of HRR on top of that signed contract even if it was signed by Scott Gomez or Rick DiPietro.

    • chrisvegas - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      Half the teams in the NHL are going out of business? You believe that? The owners exaggerate their loses to validate their demands for players pay cuts. The revenue coming in the NHL the last 7 years is at record levels. Their TV contract has tripled in revenue, yet you believe the unproven lies that the NHL is struggling. If they are struggling so much why have they not provided any financial evidence this time around to prove that statement? The Players union has repeatedly requested that the Owners provide financial documents proving their need for a bigger piece of a pie. The Owners completely refused to show anything. Why? Because it is all just propaganda from them. This is about the owners greed. Yes Billionaires are greedy, just go follow all the bailouts that the billionaires have gotten from the American Taxpayers the last 5 years. When Wall Street can get away with it why can’t sport franchises? When I see evidence that the NHL is losing money then I’ll but their lies. The only evidence we have seen though is record revenue levels. Each franchise has tripled their TV Revenue. Think about it!!!!! Yes there are a few franchises that probably should move to another cities or go through bankruptcy so more capable and financially sound owners take over. If a owner runs his team into bankruptcy so be it, There are plenty of billionaires who will buy them. The truth is the owners are full of it and are playing everyone for fools. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

      • georgiared - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:34 AM

        Um, the owners have provided over 76,000 pages of evidence to the PA showing that 18 of the 30 teams lost money last year and that was in July. Please get educated before spouting off like an idiot

        http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-07-31/nhl-labor-talks-nhlpa-negotiations-gary-bettman-donald-fehr-76000-pages

  11. dagassa - Oct 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    The players make a lot of money to play a game. Probably too much but a contract is a contract. If I were the players, I would throw this at the league and see what they say. “50/50 is fine BUT, if you don’t honor the contract you signed me to then it’s null & void and I’m a free agent”. Realistically, the owners don’t want to honor their part of the agreement so the players shouldn’t have to either.

    I know that this doesn’t solve the roll back that the players are faced with but it would be fun to watch the owners scramble to sign a completely new team and spend money that they supposedly don’t have. Owners would still throw ridiculous amounts of money at Crosby, Kopitar, Parise etc… and when the dust settled, they would be right back where they are now because the couldn’t control themselves. :-)

  12. yourrealitybites - Oct 28, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Hey players, great thinking! You hired the proverbial captain of the Titanic to captain your ship. Go Bettman! Lock em out the whole season. I wish we cared, but real hockey fans are moving on.

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