The National Hockey League dealt another blow to fans Friday (Nov. 23), canceling all games through Dec. 14 and abandoning the All-Star game scheduled for Jan. 27, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio.
The newest cuts bring the total number of games canceled to 422, or 34 percent of the regular season. The NHL and its players union are currently in Day 69 of a lockout over proposed changes to player contract rights and revenue sharing.
“The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement. “We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.”
In response, the National Hockey League Players Association (NHPLA) issued their own statement:
“On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners’ direction in order to get the game back on the ice,” says NHPLA executive director Donald Fehr.
“The gap that remains on the core economic issues is $182 million. On Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league is losing $18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of canceled games far exceeds the current economic gap. It makes the NHL’s announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star Weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans — especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner.”
The last NHL lockout, in 2004-05, resulted in the cancellation of the entire pro hockey league season.