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Open Fan Letter to the League on the Current State of Affairs

To The NHL:

Where do I begin? During the course of the last seven years since the last lockout, you have seen record growth; growth that many American businesses would kill to have. You have watched your sport increase its fan base year in and year out, even in markets where it usually would not make sense (Phoenix, Carolina, etc.). Now here we are: a month into another lockout, with no end in sight. You guys have had seven years to figure this issue out. You wait until a month before the season starts to even begin negotiating. And furthermore, you have done so, all the while pointing fingers at the NHLPA. You expect most fans to be ignorant to the nature of the business, and while some are, that does not make all of us. Why is it, that in every one of the CBA’s under Gary Bettman’s watch, has there not been one to be solved without a work stoppage? During his tenure as your head in command, he has caused twice as many missed games as any other commissioner in sports. Now when you translate this to any other business in history, you will not find one CEO of any business who is responsible for as much loss in production that is still gainfully employed by said business. It astounds me that you guys not only continue to employ this man, but you do it while encouraging his behavior of “well we will not meet without preconditions; we will not meet unless you are willing to operate under our framework,” mentality. You are a group of multi billionaires, yet you squabble over making even more. Meanwhile, you do not think about nor care about the person making burgers in your arena; or the person tearing tickets and directing traffic for your arena. You have not only harmed the well being of the sport, you have also damaged many people’s financial wellbeing who need that extra $8.50 an hour job. You make more while ordering your latte than they make in a month, yet you continue to demand more.

When does this greedy mentality end? When you get everything you want? You claim you want fairness, meanwhile you concede nothing in your offers. Do I think the players make a good living? Yes, I most certainly do. But they are entitled to it, because you seem to forget, without them you would have no team to exploit. You received a massive pay cut in your favor from the players the last go round during your CBA negotiations, and you have seen a massive rise in profits because of it. Now, you want even more. You are not content with the massive amounts of concessions you received the last CBA; no, you seem to be out for blood. As a fan of the sport for quite some time now, I am completely disgusted with how you have treated the fans. Forget the players and yourself; you have all forgotten about us, the fans and the low level employees you are hurting. You claim that you feel so bad for the fans because we are the ones hurting the most, yet your actions send a different message. Your actions are that of a bunch of spoiled brats. You have everything, yet you still want more. You will not negotiate unless you get your way. You have spent less time going over all of the player’s proposals than they spent on one of yours. They take the time to go through each and every proposal you put in front of them, meanwhile you look over theirs for fifteen minutes and decide it is no good? You think this sends the fans a message that you care and feel sorry for us? You don’t. I was around the last lockout. I remember the sentiments of the fans last time, and I can see that it is not the same this time around. You think that we will come back the same we did last time but you are wrong. The anger from the fans was not as high as it is now, and with each cancelled games, you push another fan away. Well I just wanted to let you know a thing or two. Not that you really care what I think or how I feel, but I do. Countless fans share my sentiments. I am mad at the blind vitriol of the owners of this league. You continually say how the NHLPA is in the wrong, yet you seem to ignore how much criticizing you do. You are bitter because they have not caved into your every whim. You think that fans respect that? No, you are wrong my friend. We respect mature negotiations between two sides with differing opinions. You have not acted in good faith. You negotiate contracts with players, just to turn around and say they are paid too much and that the contracts are outlandish. Who gave them the outlandish contracts? You did. Craig Leopold offers Suter and Parise 98 million dollar contracts on one day, only to go to the negotiating table the next day and try to rescind what they are worth. How can you tell people that you acted in good faith when signing contracts, when you have every intention on making them worth less in the end?

The owners and the league continue to say they just want what’s fair for both parties. Well, what is fair for both parties is to give the players what they were offered in their contracts, and use the new CBA for new contracts. Do not try to redefine the value of the contracts you already signed. That is about as opposite of fair as it gets. Give the players a 50/50 split like everyone knows you will end up deciding upon. But do it after the current contracts are up. Sign new contracts under the 50/50 split, and keep the value of already committed contracts at what their face value is. I understand that this means you cannot hop down to 50/50 from 57/43 in one season, without altering the cap room/rules. The NHLPA understands this too. They have continually offered to meet without preconditions, and you have continued to respond with, “If you are not ready to cave to our whims, there is nothing to talk about.” What kind of sportsmanship is that? That is not how mature adults negotiate their differences. You meet everyday, you talk about what each side wants, you make concessions to one another even if they are not what you desire, and you finalize an agreement. This is not just how you handle CBA’s, but how you handle any grievance in life. I know middle schoolers more learned on the matter of mature negotiations. It sends an enormous “F you” to the fans when report after report shows another day wasted without talking. Well, just so you know… The fans are not as stupid as you think they are. We are tired of money-hungry, greedy millionaires and billionaires squabbling over 300 million a year. Want to prove you care to the fans? Get Gary Bettman to apologize for not doing his damn job. Force him to step down for the good of the game, and find someone more willing to negotiate without demanding his way or the highway. The owners and the NHL as a whole owe the fans a hockey season, an apology, and a show of care about their support given year in and year out. If you want to show the fans that you care about them and appreciate everything they give you, stop talking about it, stop pointing fingers, and stop playing spoiled rich kid; sit down at a table, day in, and day out until you get a deal done to drop the puck.

Sincerely,

Your forgotten fans

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Comments

Paul's avatar

Great job with the post jep84. Although no comments yet from KK members, the twitter world is picking up your post.

Others feel the same way.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/26/12 at 06:33 PM ET

Avatar

The Letter is a little one sided.

Here is my letter

Dear NHLPA

Where do I begin? During the course of the last seven years since the last lockout, you have seen record growth; growth that many American businesses would kill to have. You have watched your sport increase its fan base year in and year out, even in markets where it usually would not make sense (Phoenix, Carolina, etc.). Now here we are: a month into another lockout, with no end in sight. You guys have had seven years to figure this issue out. You wait until a month before the season starts to even begin negotiating. And furthermore, you have done so, all the while pointing fingers at the NHL. Your leader Donald Fehr refused to negotiate until August You expect most fans to be ignorant to the nature of the business, and while some are, that does not make all of us. Why is it, that in every one of the CBA’s under Fehr’s watch, has there not been one to be solved without a work stoppage? During his tenure as your head in command, he has caused twice as many missed games as any other unon leader in any other sport. Now when you translate this to any other business in history, you will not find one Union leader of any business who is responsible for as much loss in production that is still gainfully employed by said business. It astounds me that you guys not only continue to employ this man, but you do it while encouraging his behavior of “well we will not meet without preconditions; we will not meet unless you are willing to operate under our framework,” mentality. You are a group of multi millionaires who play a game 1000 would love to play, yet you squabble over making even more. Meanwhile, you do not think about nor care about the person making burgers in your arena; or the person tearing tickets and directing traffic for your arena. You have not only harmed the well being of the sport, you have also damaged many people’s financial wellbeing who need that extra $8.50 an hour job. You make more while ordering your latte than they make in a month, yet you continue to demand more.


Mr. Fehr, you have lied to the players and the fans and we all know it. The NHL made your two legitimate offers that were comprehensive in detail and how did you respond? You responded with 3 proposals of your own, none of which covered all the issues needed to resolve the CBA, and in fact you even admit that you never even ran the numbers. Yet this is a legitimate offer? Players salaries have gone up ever year since the last CBA, but the players want more and more. And while owners stay in there home cities trying to workout and agreement players take their puck and sticks and go overseas. They take jobs from players who played for teams last year in those leagues. Those players not only lose income, but they lose everything because spoiled millionaires have to have more and more. Mr. Fehr every time I hear you talk it is about the fact that the players ‘lost’ the last deal. If losing is a major increase in salary then you can count me in. And while your at it Mr. Fehr, we fans are not stupid we understand that the last agreement was VOTED on and agreed to by the players with a 95% approval. Apparently those players were not smart according to you and the rest of the NHLPA. Countless fans share my sentiments. I am mad at the blind vitriol of the NHLPAof this league. You continually say how the NHL is in the wrong, yet you seem to ignore how much criticizing you do. You are bitter because they have not caved into your every whim. You think that fans respect that? No, you are wrong my friend. We respect mature negotiations between two sides with differing opinions. You have not acted in good faith. You negotiate contracts with owners that make you millions, just to turn around and say you are not paid too enough and that the contracts are outlandish. Who gave you outlandish contracts? The owners did, and where would you be without those owners, then who would pay you?

The NHL and the league continue to say they just want what’s fair for both parties. Well, what is fair for both parties is to work together stop playing for a win, and learn to negotiate in good faith. It is called give and take, you get a COMPLETE offer from the NHL then you work off that deal, instead of muddying the waters by making 3 different offers. What other union has ever done that before? The fact you made three offers tells us fans your not serious about trying to negotiate in good faith. NO where in the history of contracts has this ever been done. I agree that both sides should agree to a a 50/50 split and keep the value of already committed contracts at what their face value is. I understand that this means you cannot hop down to 50/50 from 57/43 in one season, without altering the cap room/rules. The NHL understands this too. They have continually offered to meet without preconditions, and you have continued to respond with, “If you are not ready to cave to our whims, there is nothing to talk about.” What kind of sportsmanship is that? That is not how mature adults negotiate their differences. You meet everyday, you talk about what each side wants, you make concessions to one another even if they are not what you desire, and you finalize an agreement. This is not just how you handle CBA’s, but how you handle any grievance in life. I know middle schoolers more learned on the matter of mature negotiations. It sends an enormous “F you” to the fans when report after report shows another day wasted without talking. Well, just so you know… The fans are not as stupid as you think they are. We are tired of money-hungry, greedy millionaires players and billionaire owners squabbling over 300 million a year. Want to prove you care to the fans? Get Donald Fehr to apologize for not doing his damn job. Force him to step down for the good of the game, and find someone more willing to negotiate without demanding his way or the highway. The NHLPA and the NHL as a whole owe the fans a hockey season, an apology, and a show of care about their support given year in and year out. If you want to show the fans that you care about them and appreciate everything they give you, stop talking about it, stop pointing fingers, and stop playing spoiled rich kid; sit down at a table, day in, and day out until you get a deal done to drop the puck.

Posted by HatTrick on 10/26/12 at 06:35 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

HatTrick ... you are so full of shit not only are your eyes brown and your hair brown, but the white hat you put oon turns brown in seconds.

Lets put this owner/player money situation into perspective.

For example .. lets take the Philadelphia Flyers ... owned by Comcast.
They have so much cash (and other assets) they were able to buy NBC !!!
Spending $70 mil. on 23 hockey players for one season is pocket change… and thats the way it should be.

Owners of ANY sports team, be it hockey or baseball or basketball or football
#1 - are independantly wealthy from other dealings
#2 - fans of the sport in which they bought said team
#3 - shouldn’t look at owning said team as a big money maker because they really don’t need more of what they already have a boatload of.

Hockey players, on the other hand, dedicate their entire lives to the sport.
They move away from home at an early age to develope their skills, sacrificing family life and (most of the time) a college education in order to accumilate maybe $10 mil. when their career is all said & done.

Owners can be owners for a lifetime ... a player’s career is limited.
I’m beginning to question whether a 50/50 split is really fair based on that point alone.

Negotiations up to this point have been a joke… with blame going to both sides but mostly Bettman.  I’ve been saying for years that he needs to be replaced and yet another lockout with piss poor negotiation tactics is yet another example why.

You can sit there & piss all over the players all you want but, remember ... if it weren’t for the players (whomever you choose) there wouldn’t be an NHL.  I’m very surprised they haven’t collectively given Bettman and the league a giant middle finger and torn up their contracts and walked away from the NHL permanently.

Owners that need to borrow money or find a group of investors to complete the purchase don’t belong owning a team.  The blame for those owners existing falls on the sholders of Bettman and the other owners.  If you want to own a sports team than you damn better make sure you can afford to do so.  If you just get by by the skin of your teeth then you’re in for a world of hurt.

Is it fair to take out that greed and ignorance on the players, other arena employees, and fans ??  Hell no.

Anyone that takes the side of the owners in this lockout
#1 - has absolutely no idea how much money these people are worth and
#2 - have no idea what its like being worth that much money.

Bettman expanded the league into markets Pro hockey shouldn’t be in and the other owners agreed to people owning teams that had no business being owners.

Cut players salary to make up for that stupidity ??

yeah ... thats fair ..... pfffffffffffffff

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 10/26/12 at 07:47 PM ET

Avatar

The only thing worse than not watching NHL hockey, is reading open letters from fans, churning their angst and indignation! Gary Bettman is a meany, the owners are rich, so they should lose more money. Hockey belongs only in frozen god forsaken towns, where the fans truly love and understand the game. Players only want what they deserve which is most of the money… on and on it goes. Whatever!!!

Posted by timbits on 10/26/12 at 08:17 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Mine is a bit more streamlined.

The fans pay the bills as without them, there is no business to run. What you do as owners is out of the hands of both the players and the fans. How you squander your profits and claim you are losing money, is no one’s fault but your own. The present company you keep related to handle your financial aspects is on you. Don’t put the blame on others for your mistakes. Fix your internal problems and come to the table ready to play hockey. We ask for nothing more, you shouldn’t either.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/26/12 at 08:36 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by timbits on 10/26/12 at 08:17 PM ET

Go Glendale Coyotes!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 10/26/12 at 09:48 PM ET

Avatar

To address your little post there timbits, I am from Carolina. I live here and have seen hockey thrive here. I played hockey the first year this city (Raleigh) had a league here. That does not mean that location is not important to business. The most important thing when deciding to open a business is knowing and understanding your demographics. So do not act like location is not important because it is. And if you do not want to read open fan letters, then don’t. Ignore them and move on.

Posted by jep84 on 10/26/12 at 10:09 PM ET

Chet's avatar

I’ve been a die hard fan since I was a kid. I’ve resolved not to spend any money on the NHL when it comes back. The only way to send a message to these owners is to hit them in the wallet. It’s already clear that dollar signs are the only thing they understand.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 10/26/12 at 10:23 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

I’d love to see a self imposed lockout by fans, for fans. Show our solidarity the same as the owners resolve has been. The message would be clear.

I’m not holding favoritism to either side any more. But I still have one thing bothering me. The matter of not honoring current contracts at face value that were signed and agreed upon in good faith. This is the one I cant forgive or get past.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/26/12 at 11:16 PM ET

Avatar

am from Carolina. I live here and have seen hockey thrive here. I played hockey the first year this city (Raleigh) had a league here.

You more than anyone should understand that Gary Bettman’s NHL has done more to promote hockey in new markets. This lockout is to help small markets compete, along with the hard cap, you actually have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Fehr and the players are trying to push a MLB approach that has destroyed parity, made permanent markets with no prospect of ever winning. I concede that increasing the amount of revenue sharing would enhance market competition, which I support, siding with the players will only serve the interests of big market teams and regionalized interests.

Posted by timbits on 10/27/12 at 01:22 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

no timbits ... thats not what the players are after.

players are pissed that even MORE money is being taken away from them INSTEAD of owners coming up with a better revenue sharing scheme.

the owners think cutting salaries another 10% will save the Phoenixes and St. Louises and Floridas when we all know thats crap.

Players want to save their salaries but make the owners share profits differently ... spread the wealth ... make toronto and montreal pay out extra for suckass attendance in florida and phoenix.

Personally, I think its a non-issue.
Any smart businessman knows if you have a suckass team and suckass attendance and you lose $20 mil. a year, pack up and leave town.  But NOOOOOOOOOO .... *#$%@& Bettman demands that those teams stay there and learn how to promote their suckass team and draw new people to the sport all for the sake of an even more suckass TV contract from NBC (a.k.a. comcast a.k.a. the flyers).

Contraction is not an issue this time around but mark my words ... if the players fold again and the league gets what it wants yet again in this new CBA and the small market teams STILL lose money ... we’ll see contraction faster than you can get your dog to lick his balls.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 10/27/12 at 02:03 AM ET

Chet's avatar

timbits’ points are good for discussion. i don’t agree for the most part, but i like any perspective.

at the end of the day, it’s too bad we’re all talking fehr/bettman and CBA points instead of babs’ dumb late change or 13’s most recent undressing of Ryan Suter.

still, these owners won’t get my money, at least not directly. this is idiotic, poor business. they deserve what they get.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 10/27/12 at 02:38 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 10/27/12 at 02:38 AM ET

that’s all I can think about now I’ve started getting bombarded with “buy Red Wings gear” emails.  They have a lot of shit I’d love to by.. I’m def in need of a new hoodie.. hat.. I’d like one of those vintage T’s.. wont even click open the email cause I’m not giving a cent to the owners while we’re locked out and might consider giving them my money if they don’t keep playing this ridiculous “tactic”  of “my way or the highway”  “deal off our proposal” “only took 10 minutes to know we don’t like all your 50/50 proposals” “we’re conceding by asking for 43% and then asking for only 50%.. we’re giving you that”

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/27/12 at 03:19 AM ET

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