At a Wednesday press conference from the league’s New York offices, National Hockey League comissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Board of Governors unanimously voted to institute a lockout of the players, putting the 2004-2005 NHL season on hold.
The league could not agree to terms for a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Hockey League Players Association, which lead to the lockout.
Bettman claims that the NHL has lost $1.8 billion over the 10 years of the existing collective bargaining agreement and $224 million last season alone.
From Toronto, NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow dismissed the league’s claims.
“Yes, players do make a lot of money,” he told reporters. “Players deserve what the owners decide that they’re worth.”
The league is demanding that a salary cap be a part of the next CBA. Goodenow calls it a “non-starter.”
Bettman said that the union was “instigating a fight. They think they can win this fight. And that will get them to keep the most. They’re wrong. And time will tell. And time will show.”
Goodenow responded, “That’s just absolutely ridiculous. He never once acknowledged, not that he would, that we came forward well over a year ago with very meaningful proposals. He recited a number of times erroneously through his comments that we haven’t acknowledged some of the issues when in fact we most definitely have.”
Bettman says that 20 teams lost money last season. One of those teams, the Vancouver Canucks, were recently reported as having made $25 million Canadian last season.