The National Hockey League’s lockout of its players association officially began at midnight tonight with the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the two sides.
There were no negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA on Saturday, even with the deadline looming.
“We talked with the Union this morning and in light of the fact that they have nothing new to offer, or any substantive response to our last proposal, there would be nothing gained by convening a bargaining session at this time,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
The lack of a meeting came despite earlier assurances from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that “[w]e’ll meet, as I’ve said, any time and any place.”
In the final week before the expiration of the CBA, the players association reiterated that they would be willing to continue playing without a new CBA, essentially extending the now-expired one while negotiations continued. Bettman, however, was adamant that the 2012-13 season could not begin without a new deal.
Training camps and exhibition games are expected to be cancelled early this week. Individual teams will be responsible for cancelling the camps while the league will cancel games when necessary.
This marks the fourth work stoppage in league history. The entire 2004-05 season was lost to the league’s most recent lockout. Half of the 1994-95 season was cancelled in the league’s first lockout. Thirty games were postponed in 1992 in the only league-wide stike by the NHLPA.
While the implementation of a salary cap was the sticking point in 1994 and 2004-04, this time around the point of contention is how to define and divide “hockey related revenue.”
Under the expired CBA, hockey related revenue grew from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion.