5 questions answered on the NHL labour dispute
We here at CBCSports.ca want to guide you through the NHL's collective bargaining process and we want you to get involved. The following is a list of questions and answers to start things off. What do you want answered? Use the comment section below and we'll do our best to get you an accurate response.
1. What does it mean to be locked out?
By definition, it means the players are being prevented from going to work, and that translates into no contact with their team. So no team-sanctioned practices, no contact with coaches to talk about team philosophy or line combinations. Probably more important is no contact with trainers about rehabilitating an injury or maintaining off-season workouts. Oh yes, one other thing. No player paycheques.
2. What do players do in the event of a lockout?
While the answer varies case-by-case. Some players have already maintained they'll pack up and head overseas. For example, Penguins snipers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, have both expressed interest in playing in Europe, whether with the KHL or another professional league. It won’t be easy because of contract restrictions and/or limits on foreign players. These players will be able to collect paycheques but they will risk injury.
Then again, there are some who may choose to spend more time with friends and family. They could take extended vacations, travel the globe, or better yet get comfortable on their couch and enjoy playing the simulated version of themselves in the newly released EA Sports franchise NHL 13. What would you do?
3. Who are Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman?
Donald Fehr: The 62-year-old Kansas native has a deep history in labour relations, beginning as an assistant to the Major League Baseball Players’ Association in the late 1970’s. He was hired as the MLBPA’s general counsel in 1977, spending the next 33 years with the organization. The guy in charge was Marvin Miller, the most influential sports negotiator of all time.
During this time Fehr also held the top job as union chief, guiding players through the 1994-95 strike. Despite presiding over the MLBPA during the only year in baseball history where the World Series was not handed out (1994), Fehr’s success can be measured in real dollars. The average player’s salary increased from $289,000 US in 1983 to more than $3.3 million in 2009.
After leaving the MLBPA, Fehr joined the NHLPA in an advisor role in 2010, shortly before he was voted into the job of executive director of the organization.To get to know Gary Bettman better, click here for an indepth look at the elusive NHL commissioner as Q host Jian Ghomeshi asks author Jonathon Gatehouse about the man who has ran the NHL's business side for nearly two decades.
4. What happens to hockey related jobs?
We've narrowed our definition of hockey related jobs to include anyone employed by the teams. A lockout could have an adverse effect on their staff, as is the case with the Vancouver Canucks organization. Earlier this week the team announced they'll be decreasing staffing to a four-day work week for employees in the event of a lockout, which is equal to a 20 per cent reduction.
The scenario will differ for all of the clubs.
"The front office people are ones that I worry about and many were casualties in the last lockout. I admire the organizations that were loyal to their employees and paid them in full through the lockout." — Hockey Night in Canada Radio's Gord Stellick during a CBCSports.ca live chat last month.
5. What happens next?
It’s hard to stay optimistic when the two sides trying to figure out how to divide the pie can’t agree on whether it’s made of blueberries, apples or pumpkins, or even when they’ll meet to talk about the best ingredients.
Gary Bettman says since the league made the last offer, they are waiting to hear from the players.
Donald Fehr has called this statement a negotiating tactic.
No matter who needs to reach out to who, no talks have been scheduled.
Many, like HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman, believe it will take more than a somewhat meaningless Sept. 15 deadline to get talks heated up, pointing to the beginning of the season in October, and even the Winter Classic in January as the real pressure points on the two sides.