Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/22/05 at 09:27 AM ET
In the new world of big-time professional hockey the acronym HRR will be just as important as NHL, where players chase dollars with the same vigour as they do loose pucks. Whether the players were trounced or end up with a financial bonanza in the collective bargaining agreement they overwhelmingly ratified yesterday will depend on their ability to forge a partnership with a league for which it had absolutely no trust just months ago. It's all about revenues now and the same players now have a personal stake in the number of people in the seats and how long the beer lineups are. "The most important aspect, from my perspective, is making sure that the product is revenue-driven," said embattled NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow. "Everyone here is talking about, `How can we increase the revenues and grow the game?'" HRR, or Hockey Related Revenues, become paramount and will certainly become a regular part of the hockey vernacular. Players who said less than a year ago that they would never accept a deal linking salaries to revenues did just that yesterday by an 87 per cent (464-68) margin. If both sides can make the profits grow after a season in which they ran the game into oblivion, the players stand to make enormous gains. Based on 54 per cent of the take on a projected $1.7 billion (all figures U.S.) in revenues in 2005-06, the salary cap per team is expected to be $39 million, with a floor of $21.5 million. But if the league's revenues get back to the $2 billion level they were at before the lockout, the floor increases to $27.5 million per team and the ceiling to $43.5 million. Revenue figures will be determined by independent auditors instead of the owners. NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said yesterday that through the negotiating process, the players had coaxed the league into acknowledging about $100 million more worth of hockey-related revenues than it had in the past from sources including stadium naming rights, arena concessions and local broadcast contracts.
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