Employees

Jonathan Willis
November 14 2012 08:58AM

There’s an idea floating around that the NHLPA has lost its grasp on exactly what its constituents are. It works something like this: owners are owners, employees are employees, and the latter have no right to be dictating to the former what share of company revenue they deserve.

I suspect it’s an idea born of frustration with the NHL lockout, and an apples-to-oranges comparison between employment as a professional hockey player and employment in a more blue-collar job. In that sense it’s understandable. It’s wrong, but it’s understandable.

A Brief Look At The History of Hockey-Related Revenue

In a September interview - right before explaining that the NHL is the ranch that allows the player-cattle to feed – Detroit executive Jim Devellano explained why there’s a salary cap in the first place:

Each owner / team has a decision as to how they want to pay their players, as long as they are under the cap. Now Donald Fehr would have you believe by getting rid of the cap, the owners would make more money and that the sky is the limit, but trust me Scott, the owners would lose their asses. We've tried that. It doesn't work. There is just too much cost involved in running and owning a team.

Devellano is right. He goes on to say that this is “very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand,” but there he’s wrong. It’s actually very simple. Even in a system with drags on player salary – items like an entry-level cap and restricted free agency – owners spent more money than they could afford. There are, as I see it, two reasons why they spent so stupidly:

1. Many weren’t treating teams like businesses. Owners, just like fans, like to win. Players were not treated like financial investments and paid commensurate to the value they brought to the business; instead, they were paid whatever it took to get them because a $10 million deficit fades but Stanley Cup rings are forever. Or something like that.

2. There were slight competitive imbalances. In 2003-04, the last year before the lockout, teams like New York and Detroit would each spend as much as three teams at the league’s bottom tier. While the Rangers were sort of funny (seven consecutive years without a playoff appearance, heading into the 2004-05 lockout), the overall effect on player salaries made it impossible for small market teams to compete. It also made it very, very difficult for them to ice any kind of team without bleeding red ink.

The NHL’s solution to both problems was the salary cap. Now, big-money teams are in a system where – barring an obscene waste of money on hockey operations staff – they can’t possibly lose money. They have cost certainty. No matter how much money they make, they’re only allowed to spend a percentage of it – based on league-wide hockey-related revenue – on players.

The NHL fought hard for this. “Cost certainty” was the buzzword in 2004-05: they wanted a salary cap, and they wanted it linked to revenue.

The Problem With The Ranch/Cattle, Employer/Employee Dynamic

The primary issue saying something like ‘the players are employees and have no right to bargain for a percentage of revenue’ is this: the NHL is not a regular workplace. There’s an artificial structure in place – a structure that includes not just the salary cap but also things like the entry draft and free agency. It’s a structure that in most businesses would be illegal.

Let’s go to the implicit apples-to-oranges comparison to show how crazy this is. Imagine a tradesman, fresh off completing his interprovincial exam in Edmonton. This is roughly analogous to the situation of a hockey player coming out of Europe/major junior/college hockey. Instead of going out and finding a job, all of the companies in his line of work have formed a league. He’s picked by a company in Whitehorse – they’ve been struggling lately, so they earned the right to pick first in the annual electrician’s draft, and they like his grades in school and his practical experience with PLC’s.

After eight years, or by age 26, if he doesn’t like Whitehorse he can sign as a free agent with a team in Alberta.

It’s ridiculous, but that’s just because the comparison is ridiculous. NHL teams have rights that other companies don’t get, and they only have them because of the existence of the NHLPA and collective bargaining.

If the NHLPA ceased to exist, owners would get some things that they would like. Guaranteed contracts would come to an end, for example. But they would also lose their ability to dictate the course of an NHL player’s career – and as a group, there would be no way to artificially cap salaries at a certain percentage of revenue.

That would mean a return to the old days – where any billionaire who wanted a Stanley Cup ring could spend as much money as he liked in his efforts to get one. That would lead to all sorts of problems – in the current climate, it would kill teams like Florida; in the climate of a decade ago it would re-kill Winnipeg.

But players make too much money…

There’s a reason players make too much money: people spend too much money on the NHL.

As long as individuals are willing to pay extremely high prices for tickets, the NHL will charge them. As long as companies are willing to fork over cash for a luxury box, teams will build arenas with a plethora of luxury boxes and charge the money. As long as governments are willing to subsidize big new arenas and then offer favourable rent agreements and even subsidies, NHL teams will suck that money up.

As we’ve seen, without a salary cap, rich men will spend all that money and more in a quest to win. The NHL is limited in terms of how hard that salary cap can be: once they reach a certain point, the NHLPA membership will decide they’re better off sacrificing guaranteed contracts and just taking the money these guys will spend in a free market system. The league’s interest is in pushing the cap as low as they can without bringing that about.

And if fans don’t like to see hockey players both treated and paid like rock stars, there’s an easy way around it: stop spending money on tickets and TV packages. Vote against governments that spend money subsidizing professional sports. The only way to bring down player wages in a substantive way is to bring down league revenues along with them.

I’m not advocating that, personally. While I find the economics of professional sport distasteful, I understand that the only reason leagues like the NHL make money is because as a society we’ve decided that the entertainment value we receive warrants it. In my estimation, even the renewed cry that the players make too much money is a symptom, because it’s spurred by a desire to get back to paying for high-level hockey.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 TigerUnderGlass
November 14 2012, 12:41PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The point is that the player's don't want a fixed percentage of HRR - the owners want to give them that. The players want a free market system; they just know they won't get it.

The do not want a free market system as long as they are a union. The very idea of a union demanding a free market is hilarious. Why do you think they formed a union in the first place?

Not having limits on salary is a far cry from "free market".

What the players want is to keep all of the benefits they gained from having a union, while removing rights the owners hold in exchange.

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#3 rubbertrout
November 14 2012, 10:41AM
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@Archaeologuy

But they are all still bitter about that period of time when you were paid to test video games.

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#4 smiliegirl15
November 14 2012, 01:37PM
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I have a degree in English - and I work for an engineering company. They may be smart but they can't write to save their lives. ;)

As for the players, they don't really know how good they have it. They sign their contracts and they have a guaranteed salary, regardless of how badly they play. Honestly, I wish sometimes players could be released for poor performance. Today Sidney Crosby is crying about terms and how poorly the owners are treating negotiations. Isn't that a kick in the teeth to pretty much everyone who's not Sidney Crosby? Talk about behaving like a spoiled brat.

I'm not 100% behind the owners but the players want their cake, eat it too and then take home the leftovers.

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#5 book¡e
November 14 2012, 01:41PM
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This is a business deal between two entities, both of which are a collective of individuals. I support the owner position not because it is in any way 'morally' right, but rather because it is better for hockey fans if the organizations are strong and I really don't care if players are stinking rich or filthy rich.

I also think the players are unaware of how weak their position is. The sooner they realize it, the better it is for them and for hockey.

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#6 Sanaa Montana
November 14 2012, 01:42PM
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The players remind me of the occupy wall street movement-"What do we want? Time travel! When do we want it? Its irrelevant!"

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#7 Kaiser Wilhelm
November 14 2012, 09:18AM
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Is it bad that I seriously hope the NHL has done itself irrepairable damage through this moronic "mine is bigger than yours" contest we have named a "lockout"? I was completely on board during 2004, because I knew the game needed fixing; now, I realize there's nothing to "fix" except the respective messes between the owners and players' ears.

I discovered something beautiful the other day: there's tons of hockey out there beyond the NHL. I'm a student, and I get into CIS games for free; the last two I've been to have been some of the most exciting games I've seen in years. The best players won't request a trade, I can snag seats right beside the glass, I meet the players in class and talk to them in the halls--and best of all, they will never lock out. I was the biggest NHL fan ever growing up, but this has killed the enjoyment for me. Seya NHL--I can get hockey somewhere else.

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#8 Archaeologuy
November 14 2012, 09:22AM
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Legitimately, most of the people who graduated with BA's the same time I did would have loved to be drafted instead of actually trying to find work.

I see your point though. Truth be told the players entered what was deemed a "partnership" after the last agreement. That partnership was based on the shared goal of growing the game. While the game grew, however, the partnership eroded. The Salary Cap that formed the backbone of the partnership started to be circumvented (in spirit) by both owners and players. Wade Redden was playing AHL hockey and several players got lifetime contracts that paid 1 million during their 40's.

Now the idea of the NHL and NHLPA being in a partnership is a laughable idea, but the facts are that in a linked system what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If the NHL thinks its good business to have X, Y, and Z and the players have already lost out on millions of dollars in lost wages then it's probably a good bet to sign the deal and let the owners continue to spend money on them.

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#9 Dman09
November 14 2012, 10:03AM
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DSF wrote:

The production costs involved in broadcasting games, along with the lower ad revenue that would accrue due to much lower viewership of AHL games make that idea a non starter.

I would imagine a Barons game on SN would draw maybe one quarter the viewership of an Oilers game and, unless it was against a Canadian rival, there would be no bump in viewership in the opposing teams city.

In case nobody else has noticed, there is no NHL on TV right now. I'm sure the AHL would produce more than nothing. They already broadcast AHL games, a contract agreement would likely just need to be in place and the streaming wouldn't happen on the internet as it does now.

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#10 Kent Wilson
November 14 2012, 10:58AM
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In 2003-04, the last year before the lockout, teams like New York and Detroit would each spend as much as three teams at the league’s bottom tier. While the Rangers were sort of funny (seven consecutive years without a playoff appearance, heading into the 2004-05 lockout), the overall effect on player salaries made it impossible for small market teams to compete.

Related and something I've brought up implicitly before: wins and the effects of player acquisition on marketing and subsidiary revenue streams (like jersey sales) are worth drastically different theoretical amounts in different markets.

For example, if Sather assumed Bad Richards was worth 5 extra wins + improved jersey sales + a longer playoff run, well, Brad Richards is worth a lot more in New York than he is in Dallas because all those units bear greater value in the bigger market.

To put it plainly, bigger markets often pay more for players because they can and there's an element of "we want to win no matter the cost". However, they also pay more for players because the players (particularly stars) are worth more to them.

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#11 Sanaa Montana
November 14 2012, 11:03AM
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@TKB2677

Crosby is a queef. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and it appears that now he is just whinning because no one is feeding his spoiled b!tch @$$.

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#13 Quicksilver ballet
November 14 2012, 12:08PM
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If only the owners had put guaranteed contracts on the chopping block as well. Even if it isn't realistic as part of this CBA in progress, it would've appeared as though the owners would be softening in their stance. 50/50 would have long been accepted by now if the owners played this card as well.

An offer six weeks ago would've been graciously accepted by the players if this would ever go to a closed ballot type of vote. Have to think 600+ players would've voted themselves back to work with fewer than 150'ish digging in for the long haul.

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#14 EL PRESIDENTE
November 14 2012, 12:20PM
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What about putting a SOFT CAP and a HARD FLOOR on ticket prices? All teams charging more than the SOFT CAP would see the extra ticket surplus sales getting pooled and distributed to teams in need of revenue sharing. But inorder for teams in need to qualify for the extra ticket surplus sales revenue sharing they would need to sell a minimum number of tickets at the HARD FLOOR prices.

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#15 stevezie
November 14 2012, 12:25PM
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What a great article. Links nicely with this one by Malcolm Gladwell:
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6874079/psychic-benefits-nba-lockout

Willis you were wasted in your old career. Let them tune their own instruments.

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#16 db7db7db7
November 14 2012, 02:43PM
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Here is the problem. Everybody keeps calling them employees. However, that is not the right term. They are contractors.

They negotiated contracts past the end of the current CBA, and that is the owners fault. If you owned a company and agreed to a contract with a contractor to pay him for 5 years, even though the current job will only last 2 years, that is entirely on you. If you withhold payment after two years, the contractor will sue you and win.

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#17 Graham
November 14 2012, 02:45PM
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If you put hundreds of millions of your own money into something, you expect to dictate what happens. I agree that "players make too much money" is simplistic and uninformed, but it's the owners' league. The players are sticking up for themselves out of principle, to say "we won't be pushed around." Guess what? There won't be a league then. These owners are losing 10% (on avg) of their income when there is no hockey - big deal. So, if you want to play hard ball as a player, just know that you won't look back and say "I'm glad we did that." There is no hockey because the players are trying to be tough with billionaires. Billionaires don't much care what Josh Gorges or Matt Stajan think about their business.

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#18 db7db7db7
November 14 2012, 02:53PM
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Instead of putting a max amount of years that any contract can be, I think everybody involved (including fans) would be better served to make it no contracts past the end of the agreed CBA. It would certainly put pressure on both the league and players to always have a new CBA signed at least 1 year before it ends. Can you imagine that free agent frenzy?

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#19 rubbertrout
November 14 2012, 09:07AM
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Not today.

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#21 Archaeologuy
November 14 2012, 09:29AM
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@Jonathan Willis

That was in '06, most have found work by now or went into Grad school to avoid work.

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#22 T__Bone88
November 14 2012, 09:31AM
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Would the players go for a compromise of lowering the maximum percentage of the cap a team can spend on a player ie. 20%-15% in exchange for arbitration rights, unlimited contract years and lower free agency. No team spends the maximum on a player and 15% of a $60 million salary cap is still $9 million. You could apply that to second contracts where coming out of ELC you can only get a maximum 7.5% of the cap ie. 4.5 million of a $60 million salary cap. The NBA imposed this maximum salary in their CBA with the 2nd contracts. With the 5% variance on the salary it would hinder how many long term contracts there are so no need for maximum 5 year contract length. If the NHL wanted to do maximum 5 year contracts they should impose that the resigning team gets an option of signing for 7 years which would allow sign and trades.

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#23 Dman09
November 14 2012, 09:37AM
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@Kaiser Wilhelm

I hear ya man. I've been taking in the local AJHL team here and I must say, its a lot more fun watching a team that have won 8 in a row than lost 8 in a row. I just wish they would consistently put AHL and WHL games on TV. Sportsnet has like 6 channels, they could be putting on 6 games at a time if they want. And Y can't the sportsnet Oiler and Flames channels be dedicated to the Barons and the Heat?????

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#24 McCreeper
November 14 2012, 09:38AM
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Lets not forget the so called "employees" goes farther than the 700 or so players who are currently out of work. This lockout is unnecessary because it takes jobs away and not just the most important "employees" jobs. I like the idea more that the fixed operation type employees are your lower trades people trying to make a living and the players are your oilfield consultant/contractor types. Yes they get better treatment but ultimately the show would still go on. They are all employed if the price of oil dictates the jobs much like the fans dictate. If oil went down to nothing then the big company's up north are not pushed into paying. They just don't. It's not good business.

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#25 dessert1111
November 14 2012, 09:38AM
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@Jonathan Willis

I'd also like to sign up for this employment draft. Any little towns need English lit majors? I read and talk about books like the best of 'em. Anything beats Ontario.

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#26 Dunnonuttin
November 14 2012, 09:51AM
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Great article Jonathan: it would be interesting to see what percentage of league revenues are spent on player salaries next year without a union to impose a cap on... my guess is it would be far more than 57%

Having said that, I wonder what implication it would have for players making the league minimum? What would owners pay guys who are more easily replaceable, and also tend to have shorter careers?

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#27 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
November 14 2012, 09:53AM
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@JW

How is it you know what a PLC is and that it applies to an electricians trade? Impressive. Even more impressive if you know what out stands for without looking it up...

Just like to point out you apples to oranges scenario is flawed, a freshly graduated student wouldn't have practical experience with PLC's.... ;-)

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#28 oilabroad
November 14 2012, 09:54AM
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While I agree that this is not as simple as the example you give, its also not so different that we can't use real world examples. If the players want a true partnership where they get a percentage of HRR, thats fine BUT know that if there are losses you will have to cough up; when a new rink needs to be built, your side needs to cough up, when you sign a deal with Nike, 50% also goes back to the owners side, if there are owners/players circumventing the salary cap with long term deals, you need to speak up as this is YOUR business as well... This is a not a partnership. If you do not like working for this particular union, then go to the union in Saskatchewan and be an electrician there, you have options.

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#29 DSF
November 14 2012, 09:59AM
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Dman09 wrote:

I hear ya man. I've been taking in the local AJHL team here and I must say, its a lot more fun watching a team that have won 8 in a row than lost 8 in a row. I just wish they would consistently put AHL and WHL games on TV. Sportsnet has like 6 channels, they could be putting on 6 games at a time if they want. And Y can't the sportsnet Oiler and Flames channels be dedicated to the Barons and the Heat?????

The production costs involved in broadcasting games, along with the lower ad revenue that would accrue due to much lower viewership of AHL games make that idea a non starter.

I would imagine a Barons game on SN would draw maybe one quarter the viewership of an Oilers game and, unless it was against a Canadian rival, there would be no bump in viewership in the opposing teams city.

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#31 Kaiser Wilhelm
November 14 2012, 10:05AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Legitimately, most of the people who graduated with BA's the same time I did would have loved to be drafted instead of actually trying to find work.

I see your point though. Truth be told the players entered what was deemed a "partnership" after the last agreement. That partnership was based on the shared goal of growing the game. While the game grew, however, the partnership eroded. The Salary Cap that formed the backbone of the partnership started to be circumvented (in spirit) by both owners and players. Wade Redden was playing AHL hockey and several players got lifetime contracts that paid 1 million during their 40's.

Now the idea of the NHL and NHLPA being in a partnership is a laughable idea, but the facts are that in a linked system what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If the NHL thinks its good business to have X, Y, and Z and the players have already lost out on millions of dollars in lost wages then it's probably a good bet to sign the deal and let the owners continue to spend money on them.

You know what they say about BA's. . .

A Bachelor of Engineering asks, "How does it work?" A Bachelor of Architecture asks, "How do we build it?" A Bachelor of Science asks, "How can I create a cure?" A Bachelor of Arts asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Said the Bachelor of Arts student who graduates in four months. . .

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#33 mayorblaine
November 14 2012, 10:12AM
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as a trades person i can do many thing to compliment my hourly wage as an employee that would benefit the company other than just showing up and performing my said task.

i can contribute ideas to safety programs, i can mentor new workers, i can encourage and promote the company i work for, i can wear aparell that is available for public sale, i can head hunt good workers. all these things can help increase the revenues my company strives for. i see no monetary benefit from doing so because i am an employee not a partner.

the NHL system is flawed in that they have both agreed to a theory of partnership that exists differently to each of them.

is is time to wipe away the term HRR? the NHL is culpable in letting it be defined this way. the NHLPA will run with it as long as they can.

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#34 oilabroad
November 14 2012, 10:15AM
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@Jonathan Willis

I am not sure how that can be the point, that ship sailed 6 years ago. The point I took from the story was that players are not employees, they are the show and should be treated differently than an employee who is contracted out by a union. My point is that the differences are not as signficiant as you are making them out to be. if I invested in the business, and my guys are the highest paid contractors in town and they are pissing and moaning over the length of their lunch break, take your tools elsewhere as belonging to this union is a privilege. Unless you want to buy into the business where you have a true vested interest, I don't believe you have any right to dictate how much money I as the owner gets to take home from my 200M investment and anyone who is seeing the players as the victims in this are either misguided or simply don't understand how important it is to the health of the league to have franchises all making money.

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#35 Dawn
November 14 2012, 10:28AM
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Another comparable I haven't seen goes like this:

Players are not "employees" in strictest sense. They are the product. Any retailer will tell you that his product costs in the neighbourhood of 50% of total revenue. Deviation from that incurs some risk. Of course, professional sports are a special case. There is an upper limit to ticket sales and a huge variation in quality and popularity of product.

Technically, the employees are the staff (marketing, administration, medical, etc), and the players are the product.

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#36 Archaeologuy
November 14 2012, 10:34AM
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Kaiser Wilhelm wrote:

You know what they say about BA's. . .

A Bachelor of Engineering asks, "How does it work?" A Bachelor of Architecture asks, "How do we build it?" A Bachelor of Science asks, "How can I create a cure?" A Bachelor of Arts asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Said the Bachelor of Arts student who graduates in four months. . .

I could go on and on about the value that someone with a BA can bring to the work environment, but I'm sure you're aware of it. That said, it might be tough sledding right after you graduate.

I kept going to school because they pay you to be a student in your MA. Once I was done that I was working at BioWare testing video games. That lasted a year and now I teach.

But I dont turn my nose up to the trades like some people I went to school with. The guys who went into the trades when I started University all make 2-3 times what I make now and have been doing it for years.

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#37 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
November 14 2012, 10:41AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Touche.

Not my field of work but i work closely with them.

You never said what PLC stood for, but since you're an instrument guy I'll give you benefit of the doubt.... Although spending years away from industry can make the mind go a bit limp.

Fixing control valves just wasn't your passion? You're a great writer, glad you made the jump.

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#38 6 ring circus
November 14 2012, 10:42AM
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The owners pay for all the travel expenses,player benefits,rink fee's and all other costs.The owners share is closer to 20-30% after all expenses and they assume all the risk.The players show up and they receive 50% (proposed) and they are still not happy.The NHLPA and Fehr need a reality check,If we lose this season,what have the players actually gained? they will never make up the money lost.

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#39 TKB2677
November 14 2012, 10:44AM
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Everytime a big name player comes out in front of reporters and starts to bash the owners and starts talking about "getting a fair deal" and how much they gave back the last time I want to throw something.

The owners are not blameless in this as they are their own worst enemies but with that being said. If the union and all the players are digging their heals in for the purpose of the getting the best deal possible for the collective good and for all future players like they keep telling us. So if all that BS they keep telling us is true and they are good guys just fighting the good fight for the common good. I have a question that I would loved if they would answer. What is better, having 30 teams or close to it that healthy, that maybe turn a tiny profit or at the very least are breaking even VS having say 5 maybe more teams just fold up and disappear. So meaning 125 or more less player jobs at the NHL at the very least not exist anymore? What is better? There are lots of players out there that make more money in 1 years of salary than entire teams. Crosby makes 8.7mill per year. How many teams does he by himself make more money than? 10 teams, probably more.

He's just 1 player, there are 100's that make more money in 1 season than entire organizations. How does that make sense? I wish these guys would use their brains for a change instead of their greed and think about that. There are 5 teams off the top of my head that I can think of that may not make it in a few years. Atlanta already moved. The Coyotes have been owned by the league for what 3 seasons? As a player, do you not think about that? Doesn't that worry you a little bit? When the puck gets dropped in at least 5 or 6 Cities and you can literally count on 1 hand the people in sections of stadiums, doesn't that register with you at all? These guys are the elite of the elite when it comes to hockey so they deserve to be paid extremely well and I don't fault them what so ever for trying to make as much money as they can. But at the same time if you have to take a 10% paycut or whatever it works out to be in order to keep 5 teams from disappearing off the face of the earth, isn't that acceptable especially if you are truly doing this for the greater good. For a guy like a Crosby as an example. IF you have to take a paycut and instead of making 8.7mill, you make 7.7mill, isn't that better than the alternative. You are still making 100 times per year more than the average person makes. Even the guys making the league minimum (has to be around 600K) maybe you only make 550k. Isn't that better than being out of a job completely? You are still making probably 6 times as much as an average person makes per year.

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#40 Eulers
November 14 2012, 11:04AM
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JW

An especially great article! Loved your points about the anti-competitive labour market and the distasteful economics of arenas.

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#41 Jason Gregor
November 14 2012, 11:15AM
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JW,

You bring up some good points, but in the real world no one gets a guaranteed contract regardless of how they perform.

The players get a luxury of a guaranteed contract for three, four and sometimes 14 years. That doesn't happen in the real world.

There are pros and cons to both sides.

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#45 TKB2677
November 14 2012, 12:25PM
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JW

You are right, a team could go to Markham and probably Seatle, do very well and revenues would go up. But that is just 2 teams. Coyotes - league knows. Columbus Florida Carolina Dallas Anaheim St. Louis Tampa All draw squat and are losing money. Winning might help a bit but their ticket prices are so low, they are still going to lose money even if they sell out. Look at San Jose. A very good team, have great crowds but are losing money because their tickets are so low.

New Jersey draws squat and they have been good for more than 12 years. They are losing money and they are in a HUGE market.

So 2 teams get fixed, what about the rest of them?

What drives me nuts is when the NHLPA keeps using the other leagues as comparison. Fehr routinely references the MLB. The NHL is #4 out of 4 in the major sports leagues. They are a primarily a gate driven league with TV deals that pay them squat. There isn't any new big money TV deals anywhere in the future, so stop comparing yourself to the other leagues. You aren't even in the same universe as those leagues. I think the owners take some of the blame because some of them do stupid things but at the same time, the players want money and want revenue spilts comparable to the other leagues. The money isn't there so I don't get how they think they can get it.

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#46 rubbertrout
November 14 2012, 01:19PM
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@TKB2677

They are a primarily a gate driven league with TV deals that pay them squat. There isn't any new big money TV deals anywhere in the future, so stop comparing yourself to the other leagues.

I think the deal they have with NBC pays them more than squat. I also think that when the Canadian rights go up for bidding in the near future there will be a significant uptick in the revenues. It isn't NFL style bank but it sure isn't "squat"

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#47 BingBong
November 14 2012, 01:29PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

The do not want a free market system as long as they are a union. The very idea of a union demanding a free market is hilarious. Why do you think they formed a union in the first place?

Not having limits on salary is a far cry from "free market".

What the players want is to keep all of the benefits they gained from having a union, while removing rights the owners hold in exchange.

What he said.

If the NHL were a free market, teams like Phoenix wouldn't exist, Edmonton would of been gone a long time ago, player contracts wouldn't be guaranteed, etc.

The NHL would revert back to a 6 team league.

The players don't want a free market anymore than the owners do.

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#48 The Oilers Shot Clock
November 14 2012, 02:05PM
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The Old School System has a product on the ice that makes a CBA a second hand T-shirt your older brother used to sleep in. A CBA in the Old School System would involve Anton Lander scoring a goal and giving credit to all the little people who made it happen. In my systems CBA, if a player isnt satisfied, he gets it back, plain and simple. If the fan isnt satisfied, he gets it back too.Its a system built on people getting it back until an agreement can be made where enough of it has been done that we got it all back. Its really elementary. The owners will employ a conscientious objector philosophy of not employing an objective philosophy that disables people from getting it all back. That way its a perfect give and take relationship that can allow Anton Lander to be the third headed dragon on the double edged sword and improve his foot speed without scoring.Perfect equilibrium for lunch anyone? because that's what the Old School System is cooking.

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#49 rubbertrout
November 14 2012, 03:51PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

Here is the problem. Everybody keeps calling them employees. However, that is not the right term. They are contractors.

They negotiated contracts past the end of the current CBA, and that is the owners fault. If you owned a company and agreed to a contract with a contractor to pay him for 5 years, even though the current job will only last 2 years, that is entirely on you. If you withhold payment after two years, the contractor will sue you and win.

Exactly.

@Jason Gregor

Contractors can have guaranteed contracts. Some home builders may be better than others but if you hire them to build your house and they do so within certain parameters they get paid for the house even if one does a way better job than another. If you hire someone to play hockey and decide to pay them hoping that they will score X goals (with no contractual guarantee that this will happen) and they play hockey for you but not as well as you would have liked it is on you for signing them to the long term deal.

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#50 oilabroad
November 14 2012, 04:56PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Exactly.

@Jason Gregor

Contractors can have guaranteed contracts. Some home builders may be better than others but if you hire them to build your house and they do so within certain parameters they get paid for the house even if one does a way better job than another. If you hire someone to play hockey and decide to pay them hoping that they will score X goals (with no contractual guarantee that this will happen) and they play hockey for you but not as well as you would have liked it is on you for signing them to the long term deal.

I think you are misunderstanding the point here... when you are self employed as these guys like to think of themselves, you have no benefits, no safety nets, no guarantees of future work. These guys don't even buy their own sticks!! they are guaranteed the money regardless of performance and they cannot be fired, so don't confuse this situation with what you or I would normally call a guaranteed contract. If these guys were just employees, or just contractors I would likely have a bit more sympathy for them, however when you get all your equipment purchased for you, your meals, hotels, flights, insurance etc etc... yet you still want the perks/negotiating rights of being a union member or 'partner', this is where it gets to be too much... Even in a case of injury do you know who takes all the risks, the owners... Was talking to a player over the summer about this as he was hurt, and he told me only 3 to 4 guys on the team actually get insured due to the costs, so the rest of the guys are on the payroll regardless of whether they can play or not. How many contractors do you know that don't have their own disability insurance?? Right now, most of these guys based on the average length of an NHL career have already lost more than they will be able to make up and I really don't feel sorry for them, they need to be more informed...

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