Finally. A deal. After 301 days, the NHL has a tentative collective bargaining agreement. Terms are slowly leaking out. 39 million dollar cap. 24 per cent pay cuts for all players still under contract. What I’m not hearing enough of is how the NHL’s brave new world will affect the fans, if at all.
I’m pleased that NHL hockey will be back in the fall but, unless the league has something up its sleeve to appease the fans, it really appears to be saying, “Yeah! We’ve worked it out. You fans may now resume worshipping us. That’s right. Line up over here. Empty out your pockets. Thanks for coming out.”
It’s dangerous for the NHL to assume that Canadian hockey fans will return in droves, simply because they’re so passionate. So Canadian. They absorbed an unprecedented slap in the face. Tons of fans I know, many of them rabid fans, didn’t miss the NHL at all this winter. Maybe they were fans out of habit. Suite holders learned to entertain clients without the NHL. Advertisers stayed in business without buying rinkboard ads.
The league has a lot of fences to mend. To overlook that, take the lock off the door and expect everyone to wander in like cattle would be a major blunder.