The National Hockey League Labor Dispute: “Game On?!”

Ever since the Los Angeles Kings won professional ice hockey’s biggest prize last spring, the Stanley Cup, hockey fans have been impatiently asking, “Will there be hockey in October?” This is because the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) and the NHL team owners is set to expire on September 15, 2012.

The CBA dictates terms by which NHL players are drafted, signed, paid, and traded. It also defines how revenue is shared between the players and team owners. The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQs lays out this information in detail.

Without a new CBA in place, the owners will lock the players out for the first time since the 2004-05 NHL season. This means that the 2012-13 NHL season will not start in October as scheduled, and the Kings’ defense of their Stanley Cup championship will be put on hold.

The fight about the new CBA cannot be resolved on the ice with sticks and skates, like most other hockey conflicts. Instead, it must be resolved by players, team owners, and lawyers talking things over in a conference room. Representatives of the NHLPA and the NHL team owners have been meeting throughout the summer in Toronto and New York to try to negotiate a new CBA, but those negotiations are very slow-going. Much of the fight, naturally, is about money.

NHL Website

NHLPA Website

News Sources

Selected Scholarly Articles

Post-publication note:
Sadly, fans’ fears came true, and the CBA expired without a compromise on September 15. NHL players are now officially “locked out”, which means that there will be no NHL hockey for the foreseeable future.

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