NHL, Inc. – The Finale


Oct 15, 2011: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Steve Downie (9) both fight during the second period at the BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

In NHL, Inc. – Part One…  I wrote about the role of Gary Bettman, and his responsibility to the owners and the game itself.  In NHL, Inc. – Part Two… I wrote about the NHLPA and Donald Fehr’s responsibility to the players and to the game itself.

Here we are…

In NHL, Inc. – The Finale I am going to bring the two together as I believe the fans need to be reminded of why the clashes are going on, and absolutely no progress is being made on the core economics that drive the NHL, Owners, Players, Fans, and Hockey.

For years, twenty to be exact, all parties involved have been putting band-aids on the economics that drive Collective Bargaining Agreements.  Players always want more money, and owners want to pay a reasonable salary to players, but also at the same time do not want to wait for their payday to come when they sell a team.  Fans just want to be able to go to the arena of their favorite team, and watch them play the game.

As a business, the owners are in the right to want to be able to be profitable, and make money.  This is what all businesses strive for.  Just like other businesses, if you do not make a profit for a long time… you risk going out of business or having to sell to someone with deeper pockets than you.  Hopefully, the new owner will make the necessary changes to become profitable and successful.  If the new owner or owners cannot make the business profitable, then the painful decision must be made to fold, and go out of business.

In the hockey world, owner(s) try to move their franchise from one city to another in hopes of attracting more of the fan base that is not being marketed to.  Many franchises, including but not limited to the Florida Panthers, are rumored to be considering a move.  We do know the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers want out of their current arenas and/or city they currently play in.  Franchises, like the Tampa Bay Lightning (even with the improvements to the Tampa Bay Times Forum), New Jersey Devils, and Dallas Stars are not making a profit.

My solution for the NHL is you do need to decide on a new economic model that will benefit everyone involved.

I do not believe in the pay whatever you want model to a player as long as it keeps you within the salary cap.  The owners are guilty for allowing this to continue on for years.  I do understand the philosophy that if you have a player like Steven Stamkos you do need to pay them more, but there must be a pay scale.  It cannot be a free for all, and anything goes.  Some players are being paid alot of money, but aren’t that great.

The owners also must reign in their General Managers when it comes to handing out long term contracts.  I do understand the premise of not wanting to lose a player and have them with a team for their entire playing career.  Some players stay with an organization in some capacity well after their playing careers have ended.

I do propose the cap is between $50-60 million, which really is not alot of money, but it would work.  I also would like to see it implemented that no contracts can be for more than $5 million, per year for 5 years.  This would be the maximum allowed.  I would allow bonuses to players, but as long as the total between salaries and bonuses is within the salary cap.  The cap would be a hard cap, and would not budge at all.  All players are entitled to a percentage of revenue from merchandise sales with their name on them.  No player is entitled to revenue sharing, except if a team is actually making a profit.  This would be at the team owners discretion.

The game of ridiculous amounts of money must stop, and so does the ridiculousness of how long contracts are.  Players must accept they are employees of the owners and NHL, and as any business does… the objective is to make money.  Owners are just as guilty…  we all know the objective is a Stanley Cup, but the monies being paid out, and for how long, must be in alignment with all 30 teams.

Enough said for now as I went on long enough.  Til next time, WE ARE IN HOCKEY PARADISE! 🙂