NHL shuts door on preseason, regular season next?

Sep 28, 2012 | Sports

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman with Jonathan Quick after 2012 Cup Finals. COURTESY CREATIVE COMMONS

By Adriano Mancini

It’s official – the NHL announced the formal cancellation of the remainder of the preseason schedule for 2012-13.

Earlier this month, the NHL cancelled all preseason games that were to be played in September, however this latest development ends all hope for preseason hockey.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement on NHL.com regarding the league’s commitment to ending the lockout and saving the season.

“We’re 100 per cent focused on not missing any regular-season games and, hopefully, we can achieve that objective,” he said.

The latest news will likely increase the chances of regular season play being delayed, or worse, being cancelled.

With negotiations between the players and the owners set to begin today and extend into the weekend in New York the distribution of league revenues and player salary percentages continue to be the wedge between both parties.

Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, the players received 57 per cent of the share. The NHL is now asking the players to accept 46 per cent for the new agreement.

The other thorny issue is in relation to player contracts. The NHL wants to put a limit on the number of years a player can be signed. This would put an end to the highly debated long-term contracts signed by many NHL stars.

The most recent NHL player to sign a long-term contract is Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise who in July signed a 13-year contract worth upwards of $98 million.

With all the issues yet to be resolved and the fans patiently waiting for a resolution, some fans, like Marcello Duran, 21, would have a hard time supporting the league should the lockout extend further.

“Should this lockout drag on and they cancel the NHL season, they could lose me as a fan for good,” Duran said.

The NHL regular season was set to begin on Oct. 11.