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Fehr claims canceled games don’t make economic sense for NHL

Nov 23, 2012, 3:48 PM EDT

Donald Fehr AP

As per tradition, the NHLPA has released a statement on the heels of an NHL announcement that a block of games (this one through Dec. 14) has been canceled due to the lockout.

Here’s the latest union declaration, courtesy executive director Donald Fehr:

“On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners’ direction in order to get the game back on the ice. The gap that remains on the core economic issues is $182 million. On Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing $18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of canceled games far exceeds the current economic gap. It makes the NHL’s announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star Weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans – especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner.”

Of course, the sum of $182 million isn’t the only gap separating the two sides. There’s also a whole host of contractual issues, plus the owners probably don’t like the players’ request to be protected from the “aftermath” of the work stoppage.

  1. silversun60 - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    As much as I love the NHL… I hope once they get this figured out… because they will… they see a huge drop off in fan support and revenue.

    Then next time they might both actually get a deal done in a reasonable time….

    • stakex - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      I almost agree with you. The real reason both sides don’t mind dragging this out, and even risking the season, is because they know the fans will come back. The people you see on here whining that they are done with hockey and blah blah blah, will probably be the first people to buy tickets to an NHL game once the lockout ends.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        You’d think so, but as a Leafs fan it’s not hard to be sincere about not paying three figures to sit in the nosebleeds anymore. That and the two games I wanted to see (HHOF game and the Winter Classic) are already gone so if we do get hockey agan this season I won’t be there.

        Obviously I only speak for myself but I sincerely hope everyone else saying they’re done going to games follows through for a season or too. If you’re a hardcore fan I assume you’ve bought enough jerseys and been to enough games that refraining from paying for more is very doable.

      • pkeenan2012 - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:17 PM

        If they lose another season I will not come back. And you can bet I won’t be buying anymore tickets as my team moved to Winnipeg. You see the league couldn’t afford to help them out after they had taken over in Phoenix. And I doubt that the league is interested in fixing revenue shareing to the point they can help large market teams, like the Islanders, that still lose money. When you’ve taken all you can take from the players then what?

  2. dlk75150 - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    This guy is so full of it. He is forcing this b/c he only wants personal gain. The players screwed themselves when they hired this guy a fired the last guy. Big mistake and the fans r getting shafted.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Personal gain? I’m pretty sure (a) he doesn’t get paid during the lockout and (b) after this debacle he’s not going to be allowed within 100 miles of the NHLPA ever again. It’s not an enviable job but someone has to do it.

      The PA knew what they were getting when they put him in charge, they’re getting what they paid for, and when it’s all said and done they’ll have no use for him. Five years from whenever this thing gets resolved Fehr will be replaced by Mr. Derp or someone and we get to do it all again!

  3. jimw81 - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    owners are lock out the players for $1.213M per team per year. how can anyone defend Gary bill and jacobs?

    • stakex - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      Its far from that simple. Even if both sides agreed on the “make whole” amount today, there are still a lot of big issues that need to be taken care of.

  4. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:36 PM


    Cancel the season. The players are spoiled and feel a sense of entitlement. As a hockey fan, this would be the best thing for the game. The players need a reality check. If the owners lose in this CBA, the fans lose by paying higher ticket prices.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      Your an idiot. For Multiple reasons, let’s take a look at a couple.

      1) Regardless what happens, the owners have already won the CBA. Its just a matter of by how much, Fehr’s job is to try limit how much they are taking from the players in this negotiation. As the players already going to 50/50(“make whole” withstanding) the owners won taking 14% off of what the player’s previously were getting.

      2) This lockout will have zero effect on ticket prices. Ticket prices are and will always be set based on supply and demand. Its the reason last year that the avg ticket price in Toronto and Winniepeg were $130 and $98 and the avg ticket price the average ticket price in Dallas and Phoenix were $30 and $35 dollars. Ticket prices will always be set at what people in the market are willing to pay for them.

      • stakex - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        You’re first point isn’t really true since you pretty much ignore the whole point of the “make whole” clause. Thats the owners way of still paying the players the 13% (its 13%, not 14%) difference from going to a 50/50 deal… so the owners really are not taking away anything from the players, they’re just paying the players a small perfectn of their contracts later.

        The only way the owners will have “won” so far is that they wouldn’t have to keep increasing the amount the pay the players every year. Instead it would be capped at the level it is today.

      • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM

        It’s still accurate that the owner’s are winning regardless, because depending on how the make whole works at some point the owner’s are getting to the 50/50 that will be the starting point for the next CBA(unless the owners decide than that they want a 40/60 split). Any way you slice it, they are taking money(and possibly contracting rights that will suppress salaries) from the players which is a win.

        Also, even the NHLPA’s proposed “make whole” isn’t for the full value of current contracts. I believe the number I saw is that the NHLPA’s offer was about 80% of the current contracts in force(which is why Steve Fehr decided to call it a “transition payment”, because the players still won’t be made whole to their contract).

        Regardless, the owners are paying out less money than they would have under the old CBA so it is a win in the negotiation.

  5. sharksfanatic - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Fehr needs to be fired. His talk is just a bunch of BS! He is only hurting the players. Owners not only look at the current situation but the long term.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Your 100% correct. The players should have just taken the first offer that would have brought them down to 43% and all their contracting rights. Or at the very least the second offer that took 14% of their salary and all their contracting rights. That way in 6 years the Owners can go for the other 7% percent and get them down to 43%.

  6. joeyashwi - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    I love it! The owners want MORE money yet people comment on here that if the players win CBA that ticket prices will go up? Hilarious!!! The owners ONLY care about money. Ticket prices and merchandise will only increase regardless. The players love the game and love the money they make, the owners only care about the money. The real loser regardless of the outcome of the CBA is the ordinary guy who has to dish out over $400 to bring his family to a game.

  7. id4joey - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    And the players stubbornness is costing them how much, Mr. Fehr?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:50 AM

      It’s more like the owners stubbornness to meet in the middle on anything that is costing the players, the fans, and the sport, in general. However, It’s Fehr’s irrational belief that he can outlast Bettman that’s prolonging the process. The bottom line is Bettman is willing to sacrifice the well-being of hockey in North America in order to cover-up for his illogical and ill-planned expansion into non-hockey markets. Expansion that has been an utter failure in terms of producing sustainable revenue. And instead of working towards a viable solution, like a system of revenue sharing, to fix the struggling franchises, the owners are “negotiating” to take the players to the cleaners. There’s more to it then just the increasing costs that the owners continually complain about, it’s about the refusal of the league to actually examine and repair the flaws of a broken business model. This has been the most self-serving CBA negotiation in the recent sports history.

      • id4joey - Nov 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        phillyphanatic77, stop dumping on Bettman, and Fehr for that matter. Why can’t most on PHT not understand that Bettman’s bosses are dictating his actions? The owners are in a position to detect the business model which will yield maximum profits for them. Welcome to our capitalist society, the law of the jungle where the lion/owners rule over the serengeti/league. It worked in 04/05 and chances is that it’s going to work again. Do you not understand who the participants are in this conflict? it’s not about Bettman vs Fehr. It’s much bigger than that. I wrote that the players have their head in their jock straps. Same can be said here for many commenters on PHT.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM

        Id4joey, I won’t stop because I think you really underestimate how much the egos of both Bettman and Fehr weigh into this situation. These are two lawyers who have been involved in numerous CBA negotiations, and neither have ever “lost” in a lockout. The main reason the NHLPA brought in Fehr was to have a veteran of CBA negotiations, to keep them from getting pushed around like they did in ’04-’05. Goodenow allowed the union to get beat up in the last lockout, and a repeat of that was the players biggest fear. As for the owners, yes they are technically the “bosses” of Bettman but don’t get that twisted into thinking he’s a simple yes-man. The owners relationship to Bettman is similar to that of the American people and the politicians that represent them. We have a say but it’s our representatives who decide what’s the best course of action to facilitate our needs. It’s logical to think that the owners on the lower end are looking for very different things from the top-tier owners, so that means that Bettman chooses the pertinent topics for discussion. Since the commissioner took over, the lockout has been the number one negotiating tool of the NHL. Owners have come and gone, but Bettman is the one constant through the last three lockouts. He knows what he’s doing, and even-though he takes cues, his goals are not independent from that of the different owners. That’s because when teams are making money Bettman is able to increasingly compensate himself. Since the last lockout, revenues have reached record levels and, as a result, Bettman’s salary has increased from around $3 million to about $8 million. So yeah the commissioner works for the owners but that in no way means he’s just a patsy for them. Bettman and Fehr are absolutely driving this lockout on behalf of their constituents.

  8. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Hey ThatGuy,

    You need a reality check. You must have received your education in the State of Alabama. Your supply and demand comment in regards to ticket prices is incorrect. The balance sheets don’t add up. That’s why there’s a lock out.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      Throw some numbers out there, what doesn’t add up? Like I said, The Maple Leafs avg $130 per ticket. Is that because they need the revenue? $130 is the price the Maple leafs need to set their tickets at in order to be profitable? No they charged that because they could, and people would fill the rink every night regardless. They could have dropped their price $100 a ticket and still been the most profitable team in the league.

      Also feel free to check these two links, I will wait…

      Notice anything? With the exception of the Minnesota Wild, the bottom 15 teams in attendance are the bottom 15 teams in average ticket price. And Minnesota ticket prices are somewhat artificially inflated, due to having sellouts the first 10 years in existence the prices went beyond what people would pay for a mediocre team which is why they haven’t raised them in years. See the bottom two on both lists? Phoenix and Dallas. Even with plenty of supply, they don’t have the demand which is why there ticket prices are so cheap.

      • tatdue - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        That’s how you shut somebody up! Good job ThatGuy…….It’s always nice to see more smart people on this site…….

  9. bleedingteal4life - Nov 23, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    You make me sick. I have every right to come HERE and WHINE. Where else are we suppose to voice our opinions. And furthermore, u should be whining just as much as everyone else. This isn’t going to be solved by a bunch of non whiners sitting back and accepting this BS. Do something, make a change, voice your opinion because, guess what, that’s the closest thing you’re going to get to an actual NHL game. Otherwise enjoy your affiliate BS. Is about the same level as college football…yay.

  10. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    When Don Fehr speaks, the players lose money by the hour. $350-400 per hour. Priceless!

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      Not getting paid during the lockout, try again.

  11. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Don Fehr is getting paid on the back end. When the CBA is completed.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:58 PM

      I suppose you have proof of this somewhere as opposed to just making it up out of thin air.

  12. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Hey ThatGuy,

    It’s your attitude as a player is why we have a lockout. 16 out 30 teams are losing money. You’ll being misled by the Fehr brothers. There an embarrassment to the law profession.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      It’s all creative accounting. There are maybe a handful that are actually “losing” money. The Wild as a franchise are supposedly losing money, but MLSE(who own the wild) is making a lot of money due to Arena Management deals, parking, other money hiding schemes. Read below on the Flordia Panthers, which are supposedly losing money as well.

      • joeb2 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM

        Read the comments on thevarticle to get a good idea of how that article is lousy reporting. I’m surprised it got published.

      • ThatGuy - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:36 AM

        I’ve read the comments, and he clarifies most of them. The article is about how much the Arena Operating Company(also owned by the group that owns the panthers) Makes more in profit than the panthers supposedly lose a season. During the last lockout the AOC’s profits dropped 90% in that year, which can be directly linked to the lockout and its fairly obvious the Panthers are responsible for those profits. Without the team, the AOC wouldn’t have control of the arena and would make little profit(that goes to the owners of the panthers)

      • tatdue - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        @job2 – Because peoples comments are what proves whether an article is correct or not, right?

  13. joeyashwi - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    So it’s the players’ fault that they are locked out and won’t meet the owners’ every demand? So I’m guessing that all of you who are on the owners’ side in this would be on the players’ side if the players decided to strike and the owners wouldn’t give in to their every demand, right? I didn’t think so. I hate Fehr but he is right, by canceling the next two weeks of the schedule the NHL is losing more money than the difference they are apart on the deal. It shows the owners’ and Bettman’s true colors, they are truly biting off their nose to spite their face.

    • sharksfanatic - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:19 AM

      Owners are looking at long term. They do not care about a 2 week window. Besides, if you really believe Fehr that the difference is $182 Million, you are not being very astute as that is total BS

  14. thedavesiknowiknow - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:45 PM

  15. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    The NHLPA (ThatGuy) are naive, they are being misled by the Fehr brothers. The negotiations has been a total waste of time. Egos, greed, selfish, and the lack of higher education by the players to understand the economic of the game has caused this extended Lockout.

    The Guarantee provision is unrealistic and reveals your lack of dedication to the game of hockey. It’s insulting to the common (blue collar) hockey fan.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      1) They dropped the Guarantee provision in the last proposal.
      2) The NHL has not released a single financial report to show that they need any of these mvoes to survive or be a healthy league. Pretty much what has happened is after 3 years of talking about record revenue(yes I know revenue doesn’t equal profit) they have said we need this without providing any detailed information as to why. They have said this is what we want, accept it or no hockey. Not a single concession has gone towards the players. Not a one. Your the one buying everything Bettman is selling.

      • id4joey - Nov 24, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        Hmmm. Are you sure they dropped the guarantee provision in the last proposal?

        5. Players’ Share

        Our players’ share proposal is identical to yours in all material respects except for the amount of the transition payments added to the 50% share. There are no guarantees or fixed targets, other than a requirement that, beginning with the second year of the Agreement, players’ share, expressed in dollars, may not fall below its value for the prior season.This proposal allows us to determine players’ share regardless of the effects of the lockout and its aftermath.

        lipstick on a pig, my friend.

      • shotzongoal - Nov 24, 2012 at 7:42 PM

        From the NHLPA proposal part 5

        “There are no guarantees or fixed targets, other than a requirement that, beginning with the second year of the Agreement, players’ share, expressed in dollars, may not fall below its value for the prior season.”

        In other words the NHLPA share is not based on HRR if revenues goes down. They keep the previous years dollar amount based on previous years revenues. The NHLPA take no risk for declining revenues. Example, year 1) $3 Billion revenue. Each get 1.5 Billion based on 50 /50. Year 2) revenue (because of loss of fan base, loss of advertisers, the economy, whatever) falls 1/3 to $2 Billion, According to their proposal the players cut stays at the previous years dollar amount $1.5 Billion and the NHL gets $0.5 Billion. Now the players get 75% of HRR!! Their is a lot more involved then $182 Mil over 5 years.

  16. proudliberal85392 - Nov 24, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    This is about the owners trying to bust the union. Nothing more, nothing less.

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