The National Hockey League cancelled all games through Nov. 30 on Friday afternoon. The announcement means that a total of 326 games have now been cancelled, or just over a quarter of the season. No formal labour talks are scheduled, either.
The NHLPA sent out the following news release shortly after the NHL’s announcement:
NHLPA STATEMENT FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DON FEHR
TORONTO (October 26, 2012) – Don Fehr, National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Director, released the following statement regarding the NHL’s decision to withdraw its October 16, 2012 proposal and cancel further regular season games:
“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.
Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players’ share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their “make whole” provision.
The message from the owners seems to be: if you don’t give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon.”
End of statement.
In other lockout news, U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in this week, urging the NHL and its players to resolve their dispute.
“Every time these things happen I just want to remind the owners and players: You guys make money because you’ve got a whole bunch of fans out there who are working really hard — they buy tickets, they’re watching on TV,” Obama said during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday. “You all should be able to figure this out. Get this done. The fans deserve it.”
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In other puck news, Quebec’s minor-hockey association has handed down a decade-long suspension to a midget-level coach who took a swing at a 16-year-old player last weekend. Read more by clicking here.