GAME ON!!

Waking up at 3:21am to a text from my ‘source’ (free sign-up texts from TSN.ca) notifying me that the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to a tentative deal to end the lockout not only brought relief but also came to no surprise that the two sides agreed to end these bizarre negotiations at such a stupid hour.

The details of the new CBA are murky at best but there are a few things that have become public. Through twitter and various twitter personalities (Darren Dreger, Elliotte Friedman etc.) here is what I can pass along as we get ready for a shortened season to begin.

  • It is a 10 year agreement with a mutual opt out after year 8
  • Contract length maximum are now 7 years for free agents and 8 years for team re-signing their own players.
  • Variation of contacts from year to year cannot be more than 50 per cent. (5M-10M).
  • Salary Cap max next season will be $64.3 million with a cap floor of $44 million.
  • Teams will have two amnesty buy-outs per team before the 2013-14 season that will not count against the cap but on the players share.
  • Revenue sharing will spread $200 million with the NHLPA having an initiated growth fund of $60 million.
  • Draft lottery changed as all 14 non-playoff teams will be eligible for 1st pick overall.
  • Training camps will open Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, depending on ratification.
  • If it is a 50-game season, season will start January 15th; if it is a 48-game season, season will start January 19th.

So it is now January 6th and the NHL has ended their third lockout in the past 17 years.

Was it worth it? What took them so long?

Everyone has their opinion and mine personally is shared by many fans and hockey media members as it was an embarrassment to a game we love. I could go on and on but my opinion in a nutshell was shown by this blog. This is my first post since the end of June and while the lockout didn’t begin until September, I felt it was a waste of time and breathe expressing what I thought about the two sides trying to fight each other out of a wet paper bag.

As a fan, there is no doubt I will be watching from this day on, gathering in as much information as I can until the first puck drop. Saying that, if someone offered me tickets to opening night, I will happily decline.

As a person who would like a career in the hockey industry, whatever that job may be, I’m happy the game is back as new jobs will open with the NHL back in action.

Overall there are three things that make me the most happy for/about now that the lockout is over.

1. THE FANS

2. All of the average Joes who worked with teams or in the media who lost their jobs as the NHL and the NHLPA had their hissy fit over BILLIONS of dollars.

3. SportsCentre becoming bearable to watch with no more lockout talk and less NBA highlights.

There is still a ton of work to be done and questions to be answered for the NHL and the NHLPA as they have a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. The deal needs to be ratified by both the NHL Board of Governors and the rest of the NHLPA. Questions surround the future of both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr; with many opinions wondering if this will be the end of them. Most importantly the NHL and the NHLPA have work to do get what is most important to them and their billions of dollars back, THE FANS.

People have tossed around different ways to say sorry and the most intriguing idea I have heard is to offer their NHL Centre Ice package for free for this shortened season.

That is all yet to be determined, as is the length of the season, when it will start and what the schedule will look like.

Final point that my buddy brought up, did the timing of the deal have anything to do with the U.S. winning gold at the WJC? Tough to make an argument but Americans love to win and the gold medal no doubt opened a tiny window in the U.S. for hockey to be relevent.

There is work to be done everywhere, including here at TCL and TCL West as our team will have wall-to-wall coverage and information leading up to this shortened 2013 season.

It’s good to be back!

In the words of Wayne to Garth, from the movie Wayne’s World… “GAME ON!!!”

 

Follow me on twitter: @NickSymon