Kids playing hockey on pond
Center Ice of hockey rink

Everything seemed wonderful in Hockeytown during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals -- the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning battled it out in a heart-wrenching, 7-game dogfight to see which team would raise Lord Stanley's Cup.

David vs. Goliath. Canada vs. U.S.A. The series was epic.

Hollywood could not have scripted a better ending for the shaky season that was overshadowed by the league's tremendous loss in revunue and the heavy disputes between players and National Hockey League (NHL) team owners over the salary cap.

Although the season ended picture-perfect, in the end, the disputes between players and owners still lurked over the NHL. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), an agreement made in 1995 to slow down the rapid increase in players salaries, expired September 15th of this year. With owners frustrated over revenue loss, the NHL and its players cannot agree on a new settlement, and ultimately, the owners have locked out its players from playing in the 2004-2005 season thus far.

The problem with the old CBA was its inability to account for team disparities across the league. In cities where the marketplace was healthy for hockey, teams obtained high-salary players and high revenues sustained its payroll. However, in cities with weak marketplaces, team salary exceeded team revenue.

THE INJURED LIST: Facts central to the current CBA dispute
  • Players' salaries consume 76 percent of NHL revenues. That's a higher proportion than in the NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball. *

  • Most teams are losing money. According to a study commissioned by the league, 19 of 30 NHL teams lost a combined $273 million in 2002-03. *

  • Disparities are far more problematic today because they have grown to unprecedented levels in a marketplace that has continued to evolve from locally-based to league-based. *
  • Lord Stanley's Cup -
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    Copyright © 2004 Dan Jimmerson. All rights reserved