The Last 20 Years of NHL Lockouts

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

Bob Goodenow led the NHLPA during the 1992 players' strike.
Bob Goodenow led the NHLPA during the 1992 players' strike.Brad White/Getty Images

It was a different world when the NHL players struck in 1992.

It was a move that shocked the hockey world and ultimately led to the hiring of Gary Bettman as commissioner of the NHL.

At the time, the NHLPA was led by Bob Goodenow and, when the players struck on April 1, they had significant leverage in the negotiating process. The start of the playoffs would be impacted if the players were not back quickly and NHL president John Ziegler did not want to lose the playoffs under his watch.

The players negotiated increased playoff bonuses, changes to free agency and more control over licensing agreements that included players' likenesses.

The strike ended April 10 and the playoffs were played in full.

However, owners were unhappy that players were able to pull off the work stoppage and Ziegler ultimately lost his job. He was replaced by Gil Stein for a year until the league named Gary Bettman as the commissioner.

More than 20 years after that strike, the NHL is locking out its players for the third time since. Over the years, the owners have gained greater control over the revenue in the NHL and the players' percentages have decreased.

After the 2004-05 lockout, the players' share of revenue decreased from 74 percent to 57 percent.

That lockout forced the cancellation of the entire season and Goodenow was ultimately forced out by players who were unhappy with the deal they ultimately received.

Eight years after that lockout, players are once again being locked out of the NHL by the owners.

This time, owners would like to cut the players' share of hockey revenue even further. Players have been resistant to additional rollbacks because they were hit hard the last time and don't want to take another body blow this time.

Twenty years ago, the players called the shots by striking late in the regular season and getting what they wanted from the owners. Since the change at the top of the NHL's leadership chart, Bettman and the owners have apparently gained the upper hand.