The NHL lockout is over, but after experiencing the second league stoppage in less than a decade, fans may not be as welcoming when play resumes this time around.
According to Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com, the players and owners have reached an agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement, and the season will be set to resume in the coming weeks.
Each NHL team will likely play 48 games, with the schedule tentatively set to begin on Jan. 19 (via CBS Sports). Given the length of the lockout and the bad blood between players and owners that spilled over into the league’s fanbase, hockey fans shouldn’t be content with the final result.
Fans were subjected to a bitter stalemate during the lockout, and while owners and players struggled to find common ground, it was the fans that were left out in the cold. An agreement may have been reached, but the acrimony between the NHL and its fanbase will still be there.
According to a report by Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, the tentative CBA will be a 10-year agreement with an opt-out clause after eight years. While a 10-year deal is almost in place, the NHL will avoid another stoppage for years to come, but it won’t repair the damage done.
The 2012-13 season is just another example of the disconnect between the NHL and its fans. Many will come back out of loyalty to their teams, but there won’t be much respect for the league’s owners and commissioner—nor should there be.
The lockout was a disservice to NHL fans and it will take some time for the resentment to subside.