The National Hockey League canceled games through Nov. 30 in a labor dispute, bring the total of dropped games to 326, or 27 percent of the 82-game season.
The league and the NHL Players’ Association had until Oct. 25 to reach a new collective bargaining agreement to be able to start the season on Nov. 2, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. The league last week canceled games through Nov. 1.
The league is “profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained,” Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, said in a statement. “We remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the players and the clubs -- one that will be good for the game and our fans.”
Yesterday’s decision includes a Nov. 23 afternoon contest between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. That game was set to be the first nationally televised game of the season on Comcast Corp. (CMCSA:US)’s NBC network.
The league’s most recent offer contained an even revenue split between owners and players. None of the union’s three counteroffers was accepted by owners. The sides haven’t met since Oct. 18 and no negotiations are scheduled.
The NHL yesterday withdrew its latest offer, a move that “comes as no surprise,” Don Fehr, the union’s executive director, said in a statement.
“The message from the owners seems to be: if you don’t give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking,” Fehr said. “We need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon.”
While he didn’t rule out the possibility of playing an abbreviated season if a labor pact can be reached, Bettman said he prefers a full schedule.
U.S. President Barack Obama is among those urging the two sides to end the lockout.
“You all should be able to figure this out,” Obama said on Oct. 24 during an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on NBC. “Get this done. The fans deserve it.”
The players were locked out Sept. 16, the day after the old collective bargaining agreement expired.
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