Hockey fans react to possibility of NHL lockout
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning shoot-out goal defeating the Florida Panthers during NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Sunday, August 12, 2012 7:00PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 13, 2012 9:22AM EDT
As the NHL negotiates a new contract with players and talks of a potential lockout circulate, Toronto hockey fans have mixed feelings about possibility of hockey being iced this season.
Last week, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said if a deal with players is not reached by Sept. 15, there will be a lockout.
“Time is getting short, and the owners are not prepared to operate under this deal. So we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon,” said Bettman.
According to hockey fans who spoke to CTV Toronto outside of the hub of Leafs Nation -- the Air Canada Centre -- many said they are worried that the threat of a lockout is a real possibility.
“I thought we went through this in 2004 when there was a lockout. I thought there was zero possibility that this would happen again. Apparently I was incorrect,” Rene Rampaul told CTV on Sunday. “I hope history does not repeat itself because I don’t want to watch poker.”
There have been two lockouts in the NHL’s history -- the last one in 2004 lasting 10 months -- and both have been under Bettman’s watch.
“It seems like he’ll go through with it,” said Rampaul, adding that hockey does not have the same allure in the U.S. as it does in Canada.
“Does anyone watch hockey in Florida?” he asked.
Meanwhile, other hockey buffs called the possibility of a lockout “unacceptable.”
“In the city it’s already a ridiculous amount to see games. Probably my whole paycheque will go to one game and these players are complaining a lot,” said Elad Shefer. “I side with Bettman. Some people are too greedy and I want to see games for a real price.”
The league and the Players’ Association (NHLPA) met for nearly three hours Friday at the NHL offices. The session was centred on issues such as an appeals process for supplemental discipline and the lengths of training camps.
The NHL presented its proposal on July 13. It asked for the players to accept a reduction in hockey-related revenue from 57 per cent to 46 per cent. The NHLPA maintains that the mathematics involved means the final number is closer to 43 per cent.
The NHLPA’s counterproposal is expected to be presented early this week in Toronto.
The regular season is slated to begin on Oct. 11.
With a report from CTV Toronto and files from The Associated Press