Good news! Maybe…… A marathon negotiating session that lasted more than 16 hours appears to have produced a deal that will ultimately end the lockout that reached its 113th day on Sunday.
The tentative agreement includes a 10-year collective bargaining agreement with a mutual opt-out clause after eight years, contract term limits at seven years (eight years for a team to re-sign its own players) and a 2013-14 salary cap of $64.3 million, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.
The NHL was hoping to avoid the embarrassment of having a second season lost because of a labor dispute when no other North American sports league ever had to cancel one. Jersey Girl Sports Fam if you recall , the NHL had a lockout eight years ago that ushered in a salary-cap system to hockey for the first time, but also wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
Major emphasis should be placed on the word “tentative.” Sources close to the deal are reporting that there is still work to be done but there has been a verbal agreement between the two sides on the major points.
The NHL should also realize that there is work to be done repairing their image and relationship with fans. Half of the season is already over and several signature hockey events that build relationships with fans such as the All-star game and Winter Classic were cancelled. Also to be considered is the financial impact the lockout had on vendors, restaurants, and blue-collar workers who depend on hockey for their livelihood.
The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto is feeling the pinch and reported that they’ve made “adjustments” to staff because gate and retail revenues are down significantly. (Associated Press)
Visit Buffalo Niagara, estimates local hotels that play host to visiting NHL teams will lose between $850,000 and $1 million and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, says up to 1,700 riders use Metro Rail to attend each Sabres home game and the local economy is feeling the hit from the loss of the season. (Associated Press)
Take into account the psychological cost of losing fan loyalty and support and the NHL may find out that they lost more than just half of a season.
Your Jersey Girlfriend,