NHL no longer on ice

Two weeks ago, the highly-publicized conflict between the NFL and its referees was finally resolved. It ended the numerous controversial calls coming from replacement officials and allowed the last two Bears’ games to be played with normal referees.  Now that the NFL lockout is over, another lockout becomes front and center in Chicago sports: the one between the National Hockey League (NHL) led by Commissioner Gary Bettman, and its players (NHLPA) led by Deputy Director Donald Fehr.  Since it’s fourth lockout in the past 18 years, the ongoing stalemate threatens to cancel the entire 2012-2013 season and saddens many diehard Blackhawk fans.

The main disagreement between the two parties is profit-based.  The players currently gain 57 percent of profits, and the NHL wants to reduce that to 43 percent.  The NHL also wants to limit the duration of contracts to 5 years and eliminate “signing bonuses”- lump sums paid to a player as an incentive to join a team.  The NHLPA wants greater revenue sharing between owners (to make all teams competitive) and a fixed salary cap that is not linked to league revenue. With little to no progress made in last Tuesday’s talks, it’s not looking good.  Opening night, Oct. 11, has come and gone.  The first two weeks of the season have been cancelled, and many fans are starting to wonder if there will be a repeat of the cancelled 2004-2005 season.

“It’s just terrible,” said Tyler Lovelace, sophomore. “After having year after year of sellouts for the Blackhawks, it’s sad to see that the league may not even have a season this year.”  Many players are already fleeing the country to get jobs. Three Blackhawks, winger Viktor Stalberg, center Michael Frolik and defender Michal Rozsival have already signed for Frolunda in Sweden, Chomutov and HC Plzen in the Czech Republic, respectfully.  The more players begin to move overseas, the more likely it becomes that we won’t be seeing any hockey. Due to the extreme lack of progress made in talks, I feel that it is inevitable that the Hawks won’t be taking the ice this year.