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Donald Fehr On The Cancellation Of The Winter Classic

TORONTO (November 2, 2012) – Don Fehr, National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Director, today released the following statement:  

“The NHL’s decision to cancel the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is unnecessary and unfortunate, as was the owners’ implementation of the lockout itself.  The fact that the season has not started is a result of a unilateral decision by the owners; the players have always been ready to play while continuing to negotiate in good faith. We look forward to the league's return to the bargaining table, so that the parties can find a way to end the lockout at the earliest possible date, and get the game back on the ice for the fans.”

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: donald+fehr


J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Fehr even used the whole sponsored name when walking the line between reminding people that it’s a league-driven lockout/cancellation and pointing fingers to pass his part of the buck.

That’s professionalism, folks.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/02/12 at 03:39 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Which part of the buck is he passing again?  That he didnt agree to all the nhls terms beforre “negotiating”? Or that he outright refused the leagues proposal?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 11/02/12 at 03:53 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s all the same points I made last time, HTO.

I still blame the league way more than I blame the NHLPA, but in all the talk of Fehr’s “Willingness to negotiate in good faith while we play” has never ever come whether verbally or in writing a promise from the NHLPA to not go on strike at a crucial moment for the league.

I realize that the NHLPA offering to lay down that leverage wouldn’t have made sense for them and I also realize the very real probability that such a promise wouldn’t have prevented a lockout in the first place (if the league is amenable at ALL to playing under the old terms, it hurts their strategy of simply not explaining in further detail why they’re on a cash-grab and waiting for people to eventually give equal parts blame to the other side for not getting a deal done).

I want to make perfectly clear that I am not interested in assigning an equal portion of blame for this to both sides, but I’m not absolving the NHLPA completely.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/02/12 at 04:15 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Here he seems to say they offered to start the season and continue negotiating in good faith.  I take that to mean that they wouldnt threaten a worrk stoppage.  Then again, good faith” to owners means reneg at the first convenient opportunity so i could see why the league would be hesitant.

Bottom line is anyone who says meet ouur demands or else arent negotiating theyre taking hostages.  WC was a hostage that just got shot to motivate the guys on the other side to concede to their demands.

I cant hold the league culpable for things they mightve done or couldve done but never mentioned or gave an indication of doing

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 11/02/12 at 04:26 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Sorry meant the union culpable.. not league

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 11/02/12 at 04:27 PM ET


“Willingness to negotiate in good faith while we play” has never ever come whether verbally or in writing a promise from the NHLPA to not go on strike at a crucial moment for the league.

The NHL also made it clear at the start of negotiations that they wouldnt agree to extend the current CBA for any period of time.

It would have been pretty simple to extend the old CBA for one year, and add No Strike/No Lockout clauses with penalties attached.  But the NHL never really had any intention of “negotiating in good faith” 


Posted by jwad on 11/02/12 at 04:35 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

What I want to know is ... how can you NOT blame ALL of this on the owners ??

#1 it was Bettman’s idea to expand the NHL into warm weather markets so he could get a National TV contract to which all of the owners at the time agreed to.

#2 the owners put in place were voted in by the group of existing owners and its clear some of them had no business being owners of an NHL franchise in the first place.

If you remove the weak financial teams and you eliminate the arguments over HRR, you eliminate arguments over the 50/50 split.  All that is left is the smaller stuff like realignment and hotel issues on the road and maybe stupid new penalties for the refs to call so players don’t kill each other.

The players are just trying to take care of themselves and their families ... something YOU would do if you were in the same situation i’m sure.

Get rid of Bettman & Daly ... shut down the 12 weakest financial teams ... expand rosters to 26 players from 23 so you lose 222 roster spots not 276 ... and get on with it.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 11/02/12 at 04:41 PM ET


I guess it’s a good idea unless you play for the teams you just eliminated.  The league has to grow to make more revenue.  Bettman has some blind spots (like this stupid lockout) but he has grown the game and increased revenues. 

Unfortunately his blind spot is fumbling away all the gains the league has made under his leadership.  He has to wake up and end this lockout.

Another lost season will make the league the butt of a lot of jokes.  Not to mention sending it backwards about 20 years.

Posted by 13 user names on 11/02/12 at 06:26 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

Chemistry 101 ... EVERYTHING has a saturation point.

Forcing hockey into warm weather markets that don’t know what a puck is takes you past that saturation point ... your cup runeth over ...  You can’t squeeze blood from a rock ... insert your favorite cliche’ here.

Time to face reality and accept the point that the NHL will only get so big and make X amount of dollars instead of Y amount.

Bettman was a grunt for David Stern, now he’s trying to make the NHL just as relevant as the NBA and its not going to happen.

Over growth eventually leads to contraction.  Mark my words ... it WILL happen.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 11/02/12 at 06:52 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 11/02/12 at 07:52 PM ET

Everything he said ^^^^

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 11/02/12 at 08:27 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

That’s professionalism, folks.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/02/12 at 04:39 PM ET

thanks for an early morning laugh!

As for being like the NBA, why on earth would anyone, or anything, want to be like that?? It’s the worst league in existence.


Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/03/12 at 08:45 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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