They’ve bargained in at least four cities and two countries, but the NHL lockout is still no closer to being over.
“There was no progress to report,” said NHL spokesman Arthur Pincus after a five-hour meeting between league commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 31.
The league and its players have been unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expired in Sept. 1993. Bettman and Goodenow have now met in Chicago, Washington, New York and Toronto in an attempt to resolve the deadlock that led to a lockout instead of the regular season Oct. 1.
As of Nov. 1, four games had been lopped off the 84-game schedule for each of the teams in the NHL. Ten more games were expected to be cancelled on Nov. 1. Locked-out players have been flocking to the minor leagues and Europe in search of something to do and money to replace their lost salaries.
The dispute is over how to help small-market clubs stay afloat. The owners’ proposal is to help small-market clubs by taxing those teams whose payrolls exceed a certain amount and dividing this money up among struggling franchises.
The players reject this proposal because they see it as a cap on their salaries. No one complains when actors draw huge salaries in the movie industry, the players argue.
The players have a counter-proposal: Slap a new tax on all tickets for home games of both large and small-market teams. This money would then be distributed to the needy (small-market) clubs. The problem is the new tax would mean higher ticket prices.
Relations between the players and owners deteriorated in August when the players were told to pay their own travel expenses to training camp and to pay for their own meals. The players offered to play the entire season and negotiate simultaneously, but the owners rejected this offer.