If you are with the media, or would like to help out, or if you have any questions please contact me at admin@NoHockeyLockout.com
The full site is coming very soon. One of our readers was kind enough to offer to design something much prettier than I can do.
For now here are a few things to make you think... #NoHockeyLockout Note: Most of these are scattered thoughts that will be developed into full (properly written) articles when the site goes live.
There are several goals for this site. I would say the ULTIMATE goal is to put pressure on the NHL/NHLPA to work diligently so that we do not lose any time this season, by forcing them to answer to the fans.
This leads to the next goal which is to help educate the NHL fanbase so that they know what is going on, and why.
The third goal is to organize protests outside of the NHL offices in NYC (as well as outside of team headquarters), as well as to create 2 lists to give the NHL. List 1 will contain season ticket holders willing to voice their opinion with their pockets by demaning refunds for their subscriptions and willing to boycott NHL games when they return post-lockout. List 2 will contain a list of fans willing to voice their disgust with the NHL and to boycott NHL games.
NHL Fans "Best in the world"
My whole life, I grew up believing the NHL had the best fans in the world. This is what I have always been told, this is what I always believed. Still believe. Still want to believe....
You can only claim you are the best for so long before you have to prove it. And that time has come. Right now, if there was an award for "best fans", it would go to the NFL Fans. Yes it took a blown game, but they followed that up with 70,000+ phone calls to the NFL front office. THEY are the best fans in the world.
Hopefully you haven't clicked away. As I said. I believe we are the best fans in the world, and now is the time to prove it. Until now, we have made some noise. The equivalent of small pop. That has to change. If you are reading this, I assume you want to affect the outcome of the negotiations, and have a say in whether we have a season or not. Maybe you don't believe anything can be done. The NFL fans did not believe anything could be done about the officials and look what happened. We have to try. If we truly are the best fans in the world, we cannot sit idly by, while another season of the sport we claim to love is taken away from us. Partial season is also unacceptable as far as I am concerned. We have to act, and we have to act now.
I am calling for a call to arms, for everyone to vocalize this issue as much as possible. Call your teams, call your rivals teams, call the NHL, call whomever will listen. These numbers are available here for those that haven't seen them already. We must do even more than that. Tell EVERYONE you know, anyone who claims to like hockey, even that friend who just likes to argue and couldn't care less about hockey, tell them too. GET THE WORD OUT THERE. Tweet, call, email whomever you can. Attend a protest (October 11th to be announced, *hint* *hint*). If nothing more the protest last time was a lot of fun and I made quite a few friends. I know we can be much louder than we have been, and if we want to retain the title of "best in the world" it's time we act now.
I am going to reference WWE wrestling, which I admit I have watched a little bit of the past few months. The current WWE champ, CM Punk, is running around demanding respect. Claiming to be the "best in the world". Other wrestlers, the fans, and just about anyone WWE can book from the Attitude era, are all telling him 'respect is earned' and 'you don't go around claiming to be the best that title is given to you'. Anyone watching the show knows that is true, respect is earned. It is time to earn our respect.
"Picking" apart the Scab theory
There has been some talk today about the NHL possibly using scabs. I hope it happens. It would have to be the stupidest move they could make, and that is why I don't see it as a possibility.
Let's look at the facts. This is a lockout not a strike. The players are willing to play. I am no lawyer, but I don't see how the league could justify this in any court, which it almost certainly would end up. At the very least they would have to be willing to pay the contract amount for any player willing to cross, which would be everyone. As I said I am not a labor negotiator, but I do know things are VERY different. (if you are and care to correct me, I am all ears, but based on what I do know, plus common sense, I feel confident enough speaking on the topic, albeit with this disclaimer). Had this been a strike, yes they could use scabs, but this is a lockout, that to this point has not ended up in court yet. The NHL wants to keep it out of court. Using scabs would certainly go against that.
Luckily, and thankfully, this is why I don't see the NHL going the scab route. They can't possibly be that stupid can they?
Update: I am being told that they could still use replacements. I'd imagine it would still cause it to end up in court however, so let's see what happens.
Request for info
If you have any information that you feel could help, or if you have any links to articles related to either the protest or the lockout, please email me them. This includes any image links or video links. The more help the better. Thanks in advance.
Public enemy number 1. I get it. In fact I have joked around about him a ton. He makes it hard to like him, and that comes with the job I guess. I have thought about this A LOT, so before you dismiss my "heelturn", please read on.
Do I blame him for the strategy of 3 lockouts? Absolutely. Even though the bylaws state a lockout must occur if there is no collective bargaining agreement, this could easily be changed. I don't like how he negotiates, but to be fair he isn't negotiating for me. I tried to think how I would feel if I was an owner, and I would absolutely want him negotiating for me. But more than that, I would want him running the NHL.
Right about now, you are probably getting back into your chair that fell over. I am not saying to build a statue for him, just looking at things objectively. He has brought revenue from 400million (mom and pop) to 3.3 billion (a real sport). He gets blamed for over-expansion a lot, but most of that was in place before he ever took over. Things such as nhl.com, NHL Game Center, NHL Center Ice, NHL on sat radio (which they were a very early adopter of), and numerous other improvements over the years, have been his agenda. In that regard he has certainly succeeded.
So while I agree he is extremely polarizing, in that if you are not an owner, you probably can't stand him. He like any person trying to do their job, I have to agree he has OVERALL been good for the NHL, the exception being the work stoppages. I don't care what the situation, in my opinion a work stoppage in a sport driven by fans, is NEVER the solution, not even if it IS the solution. I am completely against them, and for that I hold him accountable. Why should I as a fan care about the job he does in growing the sport? As a child growing up watching hockey, I always wondered why the NHL was not as popular as the other sports. I felt people were missing out. It bothered me that most other kids preferred the other sports, I wanted it to get bigger. Not because I knew any of the business side, I honestly thought I just had friends who were the exception, but because I loved the sport and I wanted other people to love it too.
So where to stand on Gary? I don't know. After thinking logically about the situation, I am torn. What I won't do however, is attack him. I don't mean attack with my words, I mean attack violently. In the past I have myself retweeted funny images, such as the 'we kill the bettman' joker image, or the Chelios video below. Not because I want any harm to come to Mr. Bettman, but because I thought it was funny. Thinking back however, and knowing the anti-semitism that is often directed towards Mr. Bettman, I regret it. He is just a person with a family doing his job. He should not have to fear for his safety, he should not have to hire extra security. His family should not have to be afraid. And yet here we are, and to some extent, I am sure that is exactly what has happened. Although my intentions were for humor, as I am sure yours may have been too, I hope you think twice before posting/retweeting like I will, and keep the Bettman jokes non-threatening. In the meantime I will continue to hope that the 'good bettman' comes forward to overrule 'lockout bettman'.
Going out on a limb here, but if there are any players who are reading this, there were a couple of children at the protest (hockey and NYR fans), and I am trying to do something for them. If you wouldn't mind helping, please contact me at admin at nohockeylockout.com
To start, I apologize for not writing this sooner, this is the first chance I am not mobile and able to do this some justice.
First, I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who showed up, talked about the event, and especially the media that attended and cared about our opinion. I cannot forget about the NYPD either, and filled with hockey fans I hear. And it is definitely worth pointing out that NHL security, who had to come into work on a saturday, let us do our thing, and were friendly when approached. After all they have jobs to do as well, and have to worry about their job as well the longer this thing goes on.
Those of us who attended had a blast. I have heard the same thing from Tampa which had the other big showing. Jay proved that hockey matters in South Florida. While I have always felt that as well, it is nice to see proof. I just don't think it is the NHLPA's job to ensure those markets succeed. Actually I should note, the NHLPA itself has a reason to want them to succeed, it's current constituency however does not. The members have a short shelf life. Back to those that attended, made some new friends, and the majority of people were asking 'when can we do this again!?'.
I saw a few people laughing at the protest. Aren't their things more important? etc. To those people I also say thank you. After all they were talking about the protest, which is the whole point to get the word out there. The more people aware of what is going on the better. Yes there are things more important in life, but on that day, the fans got to express there frustration, and had an impact. When I think of what I could have done that day besides be at the NHL offices, none of it would have been more important on that particular day, and it is certainly something I will remember for the rest of my life, or at least until a new hockey season, whichever comes first... *sigh*
A little about player percentages and the 11th hour
According to Gary bettman on bloomberg TV in 2008, prior to the lockout player salaries were 75% of total revenue. Following the 2004 lockout, they were between 54-57%. The players are willing to bring that down to 52% (+54% of new revenues after year 3. I know it gets a it complicated). The league's latest offer would bring that down to 49% year 1 and to 47% by year 6. I will let you digest that for yourself, but I am sure you will react the same way I do.
Now, as saturday rolls around, I fully expect the league to come in with an offer that at first glance looks to be 50%, that the union will decline (because of what the deal really says). This will be a PR Ploy to gain fan sympathy, and nothing more. To show they are doing all that they can to prevent a lockout. Do NOT buy into that. The league does not truly gain leverage in this until there is a lockout and player checks stop coming in. That said, I do not expect the players to fold this time, like in 2005 when the union was hijacked. Gonna be a long lockout :(
NYC Final Protest Details
The protest will be 9/15 from Noon to 3PM EST. I had made a mistake regarding the megaphones, as long as they are NOT powered (even by batteries) they are fine, but otherwise we will be using our own voices.
If you are coming please RSVP so I can give the police as accurate a count as possible.
And again, the address is:
1185 Avenue Of The Americas
New York, NY 10036
Lockout Coverage on Buzz 60 / Thats Sports
The legendary Len Berman posted this video on his site ThatsSports.com It pokes fun a bit (in good fun), but hey he is right. A small group, can have a big impact however.
Bill Daly, Is he lying? uninformed? computer illiterate?
"We understood going into this that the landscape was going to be different with the prevalence of social media. But that fact has not and will not affect our approach to collective bargaining," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email. "Ultimately, our job is to negotiate an agreement that will make the league and the clubs stable and healthy, so that we can continue to invest in the business and grow the business for the benefit of all of the stakeholders in the game, including the players and our fans. We do not intend to abdicate that responsibility in reaction to uninformed ramblings on Twitter."
For those who skipped ahead, let's higlight "uninformed ramblings on Twitter". Now he was referring to social media, and the fans in general. Maybe it's true, maybe they don't care? But wait. Let's take a look at the web logs...
x.y.z.a - - [04/Sep/2012:11:25:26 -0400] "GET /protest.html HTTP/1.1" 200 2945 "http://www.nohockeylockout.com/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_8) AppleWebKit/534.55.3 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1.5 Safari/534.55.3"
x.y.z.a - - [04/Sep/2012:14:05:51 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 21195 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_1_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9B206 Safari/7534.48.3"
x.y.z.a - - [04/Sep/2012:12:21:11 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 19809 "http://www.rantsports.com/florida-panthers/2012/08/31/potential-protest-at-nhl-offices-in-new-york/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_8) AppleWebKit/537.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/21.0.1180.89 Safari/537.1"
x.y.z.a - - [05/Sep/2012:09:26:24 -0400] "GET /protest.html HTTP/1.1" 200 3355 "http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/09/nhl-fans-unite-as-lockout-approaches/1" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/21.0.1180.89 Safari/537.1"
x.y.z.a - - [10/Sep/2012:11:00:57 -0400] "GET /protest.html HTTP/1.1" 200 3540 "http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FSeAOHUFf&h=nAQHYA9VZAQFbqdFHvtznmbsb92Cy4Og1ldhEk9zrM9gWPg&s=1" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_8) AppleWebKit/534.55.3 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1.5 Safari/534.55.3"
x.y.z.a - - [10/Sep/2012:18:35:20 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 30118 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_7_4) AppleWebKit/536.25 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0 Safari/536.25"
Now that is just a small sample, I tried to pick out those hits that came from different URL's. Even though for the most part it is all coming from the same IP address, there are plenty of different user agents, which tell me the requests are proxied, and I am not even referencing the 304 not modified requests they are sending. Ok enough geek talk. I have gotten at least one request from them about every 2-3 hours for the past week. I did not post the IP address, as it would be irresponsible, but I assure you it is the NHL, and I would be happy to confirm full logs confidentially with anyone in the media needing to confirm. What these logs do prove is that the NHL is watching everything being written about them, and they are watching those speaking out against them. Perhaps Bill Daly isn't high enough at the NHL to know what's going on :) Maybe Gary's self esteem is much worse than we thought, and all the requests are him constantly reading everything said about him? Either way, SOMEONE at the nhl is very interested in what is being said.
Regardless, this is just another uniformed rambling with no facts to back it up of course, so Bill Daly can ignore it too.
Update: It would be irresponsible of me not to point out that since writing this, I have found out that Bill Daly's comments came in an airport he spent all day at. While he should have refused comment, we have all been there.
Remember that 8.5 minute video by Follow @JanneMakkonen1 (scroll down) that brought you near tears? Admit it, you teared up. Well he has started a Petition to save the season. Be sure to sign it. If you haven't realized yet, the fans are united. Just like the players.
Last year the NBA played on a condensed season, with a condensed training camp. The result was an increase in injuries, including quite a few ACL tears. If the NHL were to shorten the season, the PA needs to insist that training camp be handled as normal, and the schedule not be condensed to fit in more games, for the safety of their players and essentially to protect the on-ice product for years to come.
Radio interview tonight (9/4) at ~5:15pm EST
We will be interviewd tongiht on WCPW Sports tonight at 5:15PM EST by @CA_NYHockey. Be sure to tune in and hear the interview.
Want us to write something?
If there is a topic you would like us to cover, or if there is something you have questions regarding the negotiations or the NHL, please let us know and we will be happy to cover it on the site. Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-Players affected by the lockout...
I am working on an article and interview of some people whose job and livelihood depends on the NHL. If you are one of those people, and would like to voice your story, please email me.
Amazing fan video 'Together We Can'
This is an amazing video, created by Follow @JanneMakkonen1 - If you do not get emotional from watching this video, there is a good chance your name is Gary Bettman. There is an article about the video here. Videos like these that have been popping up, show you how passionate NHL fans are, and what a disgrace it would be if the league continues to insist on a lockout and bargain without good faith. This video is proof that fans are not going to just sit back and do nothing anymore. As Allan Walsh pointed out, if social media can topple governments, it can certainly topple the ditatorship that is the NHL front office. Obviously the NHL is not as important as people's lives, but it just goes to show you the power of the people. Fans CAN make a difference.
NHL Contact Information
Let the NHL know how you feel! Tell them you will not be taken for granted. Dial 1.(212).789.2000. Follow the voice prompts and look for Gary Bettman or Bill Daly.
If you know numbers for any of the NHL team's front offices (as long as they are out there in the public already), please let me know via email. It has to be public though, posted online on their sites preferably, just looking to aggregate the information into one spot to make it easy for fans to contact their teams.
We support the players. Bettman/Ownership are being GREEDY
Since the last lockout, league revenus have gone up 50%while salaries have only gone up 15% Yet the NHL wants to lower the piece of the pie from 57% down to 46%. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH GARY! (Pre-lockout the revenue was 2.1 billion, it currently is more than 3.2 billion)
The league is also looking for an immediate rollback of 22% in player salaries
Since the 2005 lockout, Gary Bettman's salary has gone from $3.7M to $7.5M Source: TheStar.com (credit @walsha (Allan Walsh) for finding this)
The reason we have a hard cap system is because this fight is really Owner Vs. Owner and not Owner Vs. Player. The owners of small market teams were not able to compete with the owners of large market teams, so rather than implement proper revenue sharing, the league decided to punish the players instead for their owners being unable to control their own spending. Imagine your employer cutting your salary because they couldn't stop spending $ on things they didn't need. That is exactly what happened to the NHL
A little about me
- I am a 30 year old father of two wonderful children (age 10 and 4). I feel it is important that I have full disclosure of the following:
- I am a New York Rangers season ticket holder, so I apologize in advance for any New York bias I will undoubtedly have. I am NOT a member of the media, just a fan who is fed up, but I will do my best to not let my allegiance affect the opinions on the entire league. I will also be looking for contributors from other fan bases and other groups to even things out. I will do my best to be unbiased and should I find anything to support that the NHLPA is the one preventing us from having an NHL season or doing wrong somewhere I will point it out. I won't hold my breath for that however.
- I tend to lean right on most economic issues (I mention this since this is essentially supposed to be an economic fight). That usually tends to mean I do not support unions. My general opinion is that they served good previously, and mostly no longer benefit those they take dues from. I do however think without unions, the problems would swing unfairly in the opposite direction. I do not have the answer on how to have a system that benefits both sides, so we are stuck with what we have. However, it should be noted that for the purposes of this argument (NHL vs NHLPA), I FULLY SUPPORT THE UNION. So while I lean right economically, I do make up my own opinions on EACH INDIVIDUAL SITUATION, which is how I believe everyone should operate.
What the naysayers will say
The most common anti-NHLPA comment I hear is that "the players are playing a childrens game and should be happy to get what they get". Yes they are playing a childrens game, but they are also risking their health out there and they are entertaining you just like your favorite musician who probably makes alot more than the average NHL player. The reason I despise this comment soo much is that it implies that if the NHL player was not making the money that somehow it would benefit the fans. Does anyone really believe that if the NHL players were for arguments sake limited to 500k annual salary each, that the remaining money wouldn't just go into the pockets of ownership? Of course it would. And while I am not against ownership making money, I firmly believe that the players should be able to make as much as what the owners are willing to pay for their services, and that will equate to a fair partnership between owners and players. Going even further, it is important to note that many NHL players only play several years, and even those with long careers are expected to retire at age 40. Throw in high taxes, agent fees, etc and the number they are left with is signficantly smaller than the $98 million Suter/Parise just got. They then need to use that money to support their family for the rest of their lives. For many of these players they never went to college, they gave that up for an NHL career (and most of us would do the same), but in turn they do not have anything to fall back on besides hopefully a safety net they built up while playing. The percentage of players that end up with a media job has increased over the years, but the number that stay with the media is few and far between.
It has been suggested to me that I am putting all of the blame on Bettman, when he is just doing his job. As a result I wanted to clear up my position. When I am attacking Bettman, it is because he is the voice of the owners. Regardless of mistakes I feel Bettman has made, in addition to the fact that I feel he no longer has the full support of ownership, he is THE OWNER'S PUPPET. His job is to get the most amount of $ for the owners, and to literally screw the players. He was hired after the player strike of 1992 after the owners kept getting clobbered in negotiations. Since his rise to power, he has done exactly that: taken $ from the players, and given it to the owners. Revenue has risen from 400million to 3.3 billion. The problem is, he no longer plays fair. He has become corrupted by power, and truly believes he can do whatever he wants without consequence. And for the most part he has been right. Which is why I created this site. If the fans have a voice, and we organize ourselves, the owners (and bettman) will have to rethink their position, it won't be relevant any more in todays inter-connected world. My anger directed at Bettman is certainly targetted at the owners as well, but let's be realistic, the owners are not firing themselves. They may however change course, and sacrifice Bettman, much the same way a team changes from 1 type of coach, to the complete opposite type of coach (ie: John Tortorella replacing Tom Renney).
Now that the argument about Bettman being a puppet has been made, I feel it is important to note the following:
1. Most of the owners today, were not around in 1992, and did not put Bettman into power.
2. During CBA negotiations, Bettman can fine any owner who speaks out 1 million dollars per incident. Nothing keeps people in line like massive fines. But why would he need to keep owners in line if he has unanimous support?
3. To turn down an offer from the NHLPA, Bettman only needs 8 team owners to support him. That means 22 owners can be in favor of the NHLPA's proposal, and it won't matter to Bettman. Again, why is this type of power needed if he has 100% owner approval.
So what does this mean? To me it means that if we can show the owners that their current approach won't work anymore, that the fans are not going to put up with being taken for granted, the owners will change their approach, replace Bettman, and bargain fairer. (note I did not say fairly, just fairer :))
- The NHLPA is willing to play the upcoming season under the old agreement while a new agreement is worked out. (This was true in 2004-2005 as well). The league is not willing to do this. Sadly during the lockout (and probably during this year's lockout), most members of the media and the public side with the league and blame the players for not wanting to play, when in reality it is the league's fault. (This is why it is called a LOCKOUT and not a STRIKE)
- During the 2004/2005 lockout (and the propoganda filled years leading up to the lockout) Gary Bettman repeatedly stated that the lockout was necessary to keep ticket prices reasonable, and that was a main reason they lead the fight to "protect the fans". My season tickets cost $36 a ticket the year after the lockout. That same seat will cost me $79 a ticket next season. 1 seat used to cost me $1620 per season, and now it is costing me $3555 per season. Meanwhile the cap is still more than 20 million less than the Ranger's salary pre-lockout, so I fail to see why ticket prices needed to increase that much, especially after our hero Gary Bettman saved the day by canceling a season and getting his hard cap which essentialy broke the NHLPA's back and squeezed out Goodenow, leaving the union in shambles for years to come. This lockout would not be happening if the players did not break 7 years ago. The NHL brass almost certainly feels that the union is weak and probably still divided, and will be willing to give into the NHL's absurd demands. IF YOUR EMPLOYER HAD INCREASED REVENUE+PROFITS YEAR OVER YEAR FOR 7 STRAIGHT YEARS WOULD YOU TAKE A SALARY CUT?
- In NHL history there have been 3 work stoppages. 1 Strike which lasted 10 days, and 2 lockouts that lasted 13 months, 2 weeks and 2 days. Contrary to popular belief the players do not lock themselves out.
My Opinions (based on facts)
- The penguins salary in 2003/2004 was approximately 24 million total. They claimed that they. In 2007 their salary reached 44 million. In 2012/2013 their salary is currently at 60 million and growing. Thats an increase of 36 million since the lockout. Yes Crosby and Malkin are bringing in more money, but not that much money. A new arena helps as well, but the change was drastic and quick, the pre-lockout salary in 2003/2004 was clearly manipulated so that the league could have an argument.
- The one thing the penguins have proven is that if you sign good players, and have success they will come. The only thing broken in the NHL are certain teams mismanaging themselves, or in poor markets. The NHL should be a proper partner to the NHLPA and move out of those markets, or institute revenue sharing until those markets can succeed (this is how the NFL became successful thanks in large part to Wellington Mara). IT IS NOT THE UNION'S RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX THE MISTAKES OF THE NHL
Rant on NHL Substance Abuse Policy
- It is my opinion that the substance abuse policy in the NHL is in dire need of change. As it stands now a player has 3 strikes and then they are done. It is important that I mention I am referring to substance abuse for recreational purposes and NOT steroids. As it stands now, the current policy actually discourages a player from coming forward to get help. Why would they want to go to the league for help, if they will be rewarded with strike #1. It is a shame that a player with a disease should be afraid to come forward to get help for there problem for fear of losing their job. Considering that most addicts relapse (statistics vary but somewhere between 50-90% relapse), 3 strikes is not enough. This policy needs to change, it could save lives.
- In addition to the above, I would love to see some better protection of the players in the next CBA. More to come soon, however the enabling of Derek Boogaard's addiction by team doctors is incredible. MUCH MORE to come on this when I can do it justice. At the very least though, if we are going to believe the doctors were duped (which is possible), the system needs to be changed to prevent that from happening. This in my opinion is the NHLPA's responsibility to fight for inclusion in the NHL. They need to put their members best interests first.
Big thanks to ISPrime.com for donating the web-hosting to us. It is important to note that ISPrime is not taking a side one way or the other in this, they are ONLY donating hosting and my views are not their views.
Another huge thanks to everyone of our fans who has helped to spread the word, and for all of the members of the media who have or will cover our site and the fan protest on 9/15