The NHL locked out its players on Saturday night after a new collective bargaining agreement couldn't be reached by the 11:59 p.m. ET expiration of the previous CBA, according to Katie Strang of ESPN.
This is the fourth work stoppage in NHL history—three of them being lockouts—that has occurred in the last 20 years.
Although it may have been obvious for some time that a lockout was going to happen, it's still amazing that a sport would shut down in one of its most successful times—and just seven years after a labor struggle put the NHL miles behind the other major North American sports leagues during its last lockout.
The players and owners made an effort to reach a deal Wednesday, but both sides' most recent proposals proved that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Some of the immediate results of the lockout will come in the form of cancellations, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca points out:
Individual clubs to cancel training camps, due to open on Monday. #NHL will announce exhibition game cancellations, which start Sept. 19— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) September 15, 2012
As we get closer to opening night on Oct. 11, regular-season games will be in jeopardy as well.
There are a few possible start dates in the event there is a shortened regular season. As I wrote earlier this month, one of them is Black Friday (Nov. 23), when NBC will showcase the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins in the network's annual Thanksgiving Showdown.
If the season doesn't start before the New Year, then the chances that the 2012-13 season doesn't happen at all will certainly be greater.
For the fans, this lockout will be an absolute nightmare. Not only are they angry because they might not be able to watch their favorite stars for a full season, but some of them may be hurt financially if the whole season is canceled.
For an idea of how the lockout could affect NHL cities economically, look at this excerpt from a recent report by the Boston Business Journal:
“Roughly each [Bruins] home game is worth anywhere between $850,000 to $1 million,” said Pat Moscaritolo, CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. “… Money that is generated outside the four walls of TD Garden. That means spending in the North End, North Station area, spending at restaurants and sports bars, sports paraphernalia, etc.”
The lockout will have a huge impact on many different people—not just the owners and players who cannot agree on a new CBA.
Now, hockey fans must wait, and hope that the two sides can work out a deal in time to save as much of the 2012-13 season as possible.
Both the players and owners won't give up their fight easily, but at the same time, a prolonged lockout could result in the sport that they have worked so hard to build up since the last lockout taking a few giant, unnecessary steps back.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL lead writer at Bleacher Report. He also was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.