It's official - NHL locks the door on players, fans | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

It's official - NHL locks the door on players, fans

Posted: September 17, 2012 - 4:27pm

By a vote of 33-0 National Hockey League (NHL) owners gave permission to NHL players out of the 2012-13 season. Some 283 NHL players will be sidelined while negotiations try to get back on track.

This is the second player lock out by the owners since the first work stoppage in 2004-05.

Under the contract that expired at midnight Saturday, players were guaranteed over half of the $3.3 billion in league revenues.

The last offer before the lockout looked something like this: The owners’ last offer was a straightforward six-year deal that would reduce the players’ share from 49 percent to 47 percent over the six years.

Players said their revenue share would be reduced from 54.3 percent to 52.3 percent over “the course of their offer.”

Just for the record, the official start of the NHL season is set for Oct. 1. It’s doubtful that league play will begin then. Both sides, it would appear, are preparing for the unthinkable — no 2012-13 NHL hockey season.

So, what happens to all those players being locked out? Many European players will catch on with teams that pay significantly less in Europe than they would have made even if they had accepted the owners’ final offer. (That doesn’t make any sense to me either.)

However, because we live in the land of hockey — Hockey U.S.A., we have options.

We have our own local high school, college and semi-pro teams that take to the ice. We even have pond hockey, the granddaddy of all hockey. Watching the Brainerd Warriors rather than the Minnesota Wild will allow all of us to cheer for the home team and get back to the fun of just playing for the love of the game.

Unfortunately, Central Lakes College Raiders does not field a hockey team, but St. Cloud and our Minnesota Golden Gophers will certainly draw more crowds if and until the Wild settle their differences.

Come on hockey buffs, there’s still plenty of hockey to be played, observed and experienced here in central Minnesota. Life is not over — yet.

Dig those old hockey skates out of the closet and lace up and get out there and look for a pick up game with your buddies or the neighborhood kids. Yes, I know, you’ll have to wait for the cold weather to hit the outdoor rinks. Remember, all of you hockey fans — this is the State of Hockey.

Keith Hansen