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Jets owner justifies lockout

Jan 10, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

Mark Chipman AP

Mark Chipman isn’t convinced that the NHL’s new 10-year CBA will solve all the league’s problems; however, the Jets’ owner knew something had to be done – even if it meant another prolonged lockout – to ensure all 30 franchises had a better chance to be profitable.

“We had studied the league very carefully leading up to buying the team,” Chipman told the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday. “I came to the conclusion the lockout in 2004-05 created a significant correction in the model but hadn’t gone all the way. There were still big holes and they needed to be filled or the operation of a 30-team league was going to be fiction.”

So…is the NHL fixed now?

“It certainly is a lot closer,” said Chipman. “Is it optimal? I’m not sure yet. Let me put it to you this way, if this doesn’t work by the time the deal expires, I’m not sure what the next step would be. This ought to give all the teams in the league a chance to be viable.”

As for Gary Bettman, Chipman had nothing but good things to say and is “very, very” supportive of the commissioner:

“There wouldn’t be a team in Winnipeg but for Gary and I owe him for that and I always will. I also admire how he handled this very difficult negotiation.”

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