Fans await the final agreement between the NHL and its players, hoping the lockout will end and a season will begin.

By Christiana Van Bree

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The NHL lockout began on September 15, 2012, when the league’s collective bargaining agreement expired. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, immediately declared the lockout when an agreement between the NHL and NHL Player’s Association was not reached in time. Pre-games were cancelled shortly after.  The 2013 Winter Classic and 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend were cancelled by mid-November. 422 games were cancelled by November 23.

The NHL wants to ensure no player’s contract exceeds 5 years, but seeks to extend entry level contracts from 3 years to 5. They want to reduce player’s revenue from 57% to 46% and get rid of bonuses and other extra monetary offers given to players. Various other changes are in debate as well. At the latest meeting, the NHLPA agreed on some changes but refused others. The NHL was not happy with the player’s negotiations by the September 15 deadline.

Bettman declared the 2004 lockout, the longest lockout in NHL history. A post-lockout season began on October 5, 2005 with only 15 games. Fans fear history may repeat itself this season.

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There is, however, still hope for a full season this year if an agreement is made in the next week or two. Kevin Allen, from US Today, said he believes the players and league owners have expressed what is important to each side and an agreement between the two is not too far away. The season would only be about three months, instead of the usual September to April season, but would still contain all 48 games.

“That’s 15 weeks. That would mean playing three games a week, and four games every five weeks. The two sides would have to get a deal done over the next 10 days to start on Jan. 1.” Allen said.

The players and the league’s owners must agree on revenue percentages, along with the various other demands, if there is any hope for a full, or even a half, season this year. This basically determines whether hockey fans begin their new year in high spirits or in tears.

 

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