Hockey legend Bobby Orr is standing up for National Hockey League players, who are being threatened with a lockout next month if they don’t reach a new collective agreement.
The former all-star, who is now a player agent, says the owners are making a lot of money and the players should not accept what’s currently being offered.
“Players want their fair share, and that's what it's all about and I think it's very unfair if fans — until they understand and see everything what's out there — that they suggest that the players are being greedy,” said Orr, who is in Moncton for the Chevrolet Safe and Fun Hockey Festival this weekend.
“If we go back to the last collective bargaining agreement, the talk after that was, ‘Gee, the players really got beat on this one.’ So all of the sudden the owners have come back — I know they're negotiating, they're posturing and so on, but what they put out there, there's no way the players can accept something like that.”
On Thursday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said unless a new collective agreement is reached by Sept. 15, the players will be locked out.
The players are planning to deliver a counter proposal to the NHL on Tuesday, when the two sides meet in Toronto.
Donald Fehr, the head of the National Hockey League Players Association, has said there is a “meaningful gulf” between the two sides. But he believes there is ample time for the parties to reach a deal, he has said.
The players have repeatedly suggested the sides could continue bargaining while proceeding under the old agreement, but the NHL would not likely go for that because it would take away a major bargaining chip for the league.
The NHL is proposing to cut players' share of revenues to 46 per cent from 57, which could mean as much as $450 million less.
The league is also seeking to restrict free agency.