Jump to navigation
Trevor Linden organizes last ditch effort to save hockey season
The last couple of months have made it quite clear that the NHL and its players are miles apart when it comes to agreeing upon a new CBA. Both Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow seem to have built up a lot of animosity amongst the respective camps. That's one reason why it is nice to see Trevor Linden organize a last minute meeting between himself, Harley Hotchkiss (part-owner of the Calgary Flames and chairman of the NHL board of governors), Bill Daly, Ted Saskin and outside counsels Bob Batterman and John McCambridge. Missing are the obvious big guns Goodenow and Bettman. There's a lot of talk in the hockey community that this back channel meeting may be what miraculously gets us a deal but I personally, am not that confident. Had they gotten together a month ago, there would be a much better chance of saving this season. Either way, let's hope something good comes out of this.
Gary Bettman became the NHL commissioner in 1992 coming to from the National Basketball Association. His big goal was to break hockey out of the "regional" shackles and make it a North America wide sport. Starting in 1990, the league went from 21 to 30 teams with franchises added or moving in to markets like Anaheim, Ottawa, San Jose, Nashville, Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix, Denver, Tampa Bay, Columbus and Minnesota. The NHL wanted the expansion money and a better TV deal by trying to appear as a "national" sport. This is odd because the last two TV deals with ABC and NBC have resulted in lower revenues than what the NHL once had with Fox. So it is safe to say that the expansion strategy that would result in higher TV revenues did not work. With respect to the NHL being a "national" sport, recent surveys in the United States put the popularity of the game below that of Arena Football. Needless to say, this is not what the powers that be had in mind.