Alright folks, I give up. This will be the last I touch these NHL/NHLPA shenanigans because I have come to grips with the utter insanity this league, this lockout and its half-witted constituents feed. I’ve hit my breaking point, and it came courtesy of one Donald Fehr this morning with this gem of a forthcoming soundbyte.

Can we make something completely crystal clear here? The amount of things in common between you or I (the average human being) and an NHL hockey player is very little. I’m not suggesting that they’re above or below average. I’m suggesting that we are very much the majority, and they live in a wholly different spectrum of life.

What follows from this of course is that the owners also live in another different spectrum of life. If I had pockets as deep as the owners I can’t even imagine what I would do with myself, though Mr. Louis C.K. certainly has my mind working with this bit here.

It was the Fehr soundbyte that got me in a tither so I digress. Just needed a little bit of a chuckle.

On the Team 1040 in Vancouver this past Friday, Fehr went on the air and addressed some questions regarding the lockout. Shocking right? I can’t believe nobody asked him about his favorite color or perfect Sunday. You can grab the audio here.

When it came to the issue of players heading overseas Fehr offered the following insights:

The most easy way to understand it is this: The owners have been talking about this lockout for months and months and months and months. They had a year the last time the players were locked out. They had a lockout in basketball with the same format. They had a lockout in football with the same format. So when the owners say they’re going to do it again unless you make another series of enormous concessions on dollars, on player contracting rights and all those other things, they believe them.

Therefore, they’re looking in that situation to see what else can be done. It’s what anybody else would do if you’re locked and can’t go to work.

Thanks to our friends at Puck Daddy for the transcription.

Surely at this point you’re wondering which part of that got me riled up. Well, if you’ve stuck with me through this meandering, frustrated lede you know, but I’ll separate it and bold it if you still don’t.

It’s what anybody else would do if you’re locked and can’t go to work.

Is it? Are you sure about that?

The fact of the matter is that people go on strike or get locked out on a semi-regular basis in North America. It happens. Some industries are more prone to it than others, but it happens, and I have difficulty thinking of a case of a career where people can be locked out or go on strike and go do their job elsewhere.

If a school board locks out their teachers do they go teach elsewhere?

If General Motors locks out their employees do they go work for Ford?

If The Hockey News locked out their writers would they come write for Backhand Shelf?

The answer to all of these things in the real world is an unequivocal ‘No.’ The fact that Fehr would argue that this is some common bond between people everywhere speaks to how out of touch these parties are with reality.

In the real world when people are locked out they can’t just go work somewhere else because they want to go back to the ones they already have. In fact, the vast majority of people are forced to look into the standard unemployment avenues in order to support themselves and their families until they get back in their building. A good portion would take a look at this YouTube video and picket accordingly.

The average NHL salary is roughly $2.5 million. I’ll grant that expenses grow with a higher salary, but that still leaves a hell of a lot more than 99.9999% of folks reading this in their lifetime will ever bank.

Perhaps this underscores the problem with the NHL. We are inclined to say that they don’t care about the fans, but it may be more an issue of they simply don’t understand. The human psyche is very good at deluding itself when trying to get from point A to B in an argument and this could very well be an example. When the Steve Otts of the world tweet about how ‘they’re fans too’ that may be the case, but they certainly don’t have lives remotely resembling that of hockey fans.

The NHLPA would love you to think that they’re one of the gang, just like you or your pal you watch Saturday night games with, but they’re not and the comparison is so ludicrous it’s insulting.

There we go. My last bickering lockout related post, and I’m completely thrilled to be done with it.

Sports > Leagues. Hockey > NHL. Carry on accordingly. Screw these guys, I’ll take hockey elsewhere.

Comments (13)

  1. “I’ll take hockey elsewhere.”

    This is the only logical response. So I built http://www.hockeyteamfinder.com to help people find a local non-NHL hockey team to cheer for.

  2. Can you somehow replace the greedy prick players?

  3. “In fact, the vast majority of people are forced to look into the standard unemployment avenues in order to support themselves and their families until they get back in their building.”

    I think I have to partially disagree with you here. Yes they would go the standard unemployment avenues first, but they would at the same time, one would hope, be looking for employment as well.

    When I was laid off a couple years ago, finding a job was my top priority. I would think anyone locked out would consider the needs of their family and get another job.

    Yes athletes make more than the average person, they shouldn’t be bashed for it.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I’ll disagree slightly here though. I don’t think I’m bashing them here at all, I just don’t see how anyone can legitimately draw the line between athletes and the average person and feel it’s a strong argument, especially when it’s athletes or their representation trying to do it.

    • It also should be noted that being Laid off is slightly different than being locked out.

      • I agree with the OP as well. If you look at it on a basic level, someone who’s not working will look for other ways to make money. Now the reasons for them needed to make money are entirely different, but it’s still the end same results.

        I don’t think it’s a “we’re just average guys making a buck” message but more of a “well would you leave money on the table?” comment. Which I agree with entirely.

        If I was a pro athlete facing a prolonged strike period, I’d explore my options too.

  4. Great read,
    I choked on my KD when I read Fehr’s comments.
    A lockout or Strike for most of us usually means maxed out credit cards and the line of credit taking a huge hit.

  5. public opinion in labor disputes of any kind is of no consequence. hockey people will return to the nhl because its still going to be the best product. you can bitch all you want about greedy players or greedy owners, but it does no good.

  6. Is there anybody out their who would tell owners and players that fans should have a spokes person in the say as well. Fans are being held hostage again. It time for owners to make major cuts in ticket prices for each game played. Players are being paid way to much and with cost going down so will salaries. If players do not like this they can go play elsewhere. Enough is enough. Cut ticket prices and reduce salaries is the only way fans will come back if its for a season or two. Max cap space 70 million and lowest 40 million.

    • Why would owners cut ticket prices? There are waiting lists in the thousands for seasons tickets in all the Canadian cities.

      In areas where demand isn’t as high, ticket prices are significantly lower.

      Ticket prices will get cut when people stop agreeing to pay those prices.

  7. the nerve of these guys…both the NHL and PA. they’re all a bunch of greedy pricks. the solution is simple, yet these morons can’t or won’t see it. more likely they won’t see it. i say let the players salaries stay the same. then make them pay for flights, hotels, gear and medical care out of their own pockets. i bet they change their tune then. the players like to harp about how all they want is a “fair” deal. how is it fair that the players get 57% of revenue and the owners get 43%? it isn’t. how is it that when the league got it’s “cost certainty” they could not make it work. instead, they raise ticket prices and the cost of concession items. the price of merchandise is only going up. i paid $149 for my last Flyers sweater. greed rules the day my friends. greed rules. then these guys have the nerve to not even have negotiating sessions for days on end. there was a meeting today to determine what is HRR, and neither Bettman of Fehr were even there. this shows that both parties are not interested in a fair deal, only what they can squeeze from the other side. ultimately we, the fans , are the ones who suffer for it. if thew players win, up go ticket prices to cover the cost of the NHL/NHLPA greed. i say that they should all be shot and pissed on.

  8. Chris,

    Who is your employer and are they profitable? What is your position and salary?

    Your employer tells you to work for xx% less or shove it. Do you:

    A.) SImply take less proving you were being paid above market wage while having to work exactly the same amount?

    or

    B.) Say, “no, I know I’m worth this amount if not more. Lets negotiate.”

    It makes no difference how much or little you make b/c there is ALWAYS someone who can do your job for less. There is also someone that makes way less than you do thinking, “I can’t believe Chris won’t work for less! He makes so much!”

    The owners can do this b/c the players have no leverage. The players need the NHL way more than the NHL needs the players. If the NHL shuts, boohoo the owners lose a tax write-off and they go to sleep as billionaires. If the NHL shuts, 95% of the players go to sleep as mostly uneducated white guys that are good at a sport that no one pays for. How will they make even remotely close to what they did? That’s right, they can’t.

  9. Should it not be mentioned as well that these players going overseas are callously taking the jobs of other hockey players in leagues all over Europe. I don’t know much about it, but I’m willing to bet most of those European players aren’t making millions of euros. Hockey has always been a competitive sport and of course there’s always turnover of roster spots but this, I think we can agree, is different. As this article states, don’t try to relate to common people. Common people can’t do this. Most common people actually would not do this. That goes back to “understanding” people. If you want to go on strike and have sympathy from us then go on strike like real people.

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