NHL Lockout 2012: 5 Reasons NHL Is in Dire Straits If Lockout Cancels Season

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NHL Lockout 2012: 5 Reasons NHL Is in Dire Straits If Lockout Cancels Season
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Players stand together at NHLPA meeting.

Hockey fans are a dedicated tribe that scrapes together their hard-earned money to see their favorite NHL players.

How are they repaid?

With reports of team owners and players fighting over their million-dollar salaries and the threat of a canceled season.

After weeks of small talk between the league and the NHLPA, a glimmer of hope for a 2012-13 season emerged: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered a 50-50 split in revenue between owners and players, and a full season starting in November.

"It was done in the spirit of getting a deal done," said Bettman (via Sports Illustrated).

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, answered Bettman’s proposal with three counteroffers of his own.

According to the New York Times, Fehr’s first two counteroffers accepted Bettman’s terms, providing the league’s revenue grew at a specified rate over the next several years. Both counteroffers were rejected by Bettman.

Fehr’s final counteroffer agreed to Bettman’s terms under the condition that the NHL honors all current contracts. The league did not budge.

“It is not a 50-50 deal,” said Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the NHL (via the New York Times). “It is most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year 1 and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement.”

With that as the final word, hockey fans are angry, season-less and likely to recede from the dedicated tribe from whence they came. If the 2012 lockout ends with a canceled season, ex-hockey fans will seek refuge at NFL, NBA and MLB games—perhaps never to return.

Here are five reasons why one more canceled season could press the NHL’s luck too far.

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