NEW YORK (AP) — What seemed inevitable for the NHL has now become reality. The league canceled the first two weeks of regular season on Thursday, the second time games have been lost because of a lockout in seven years.
The initial announcement was made in a two-paragraph statement from the league. It isn't clear if those games will be made up, allowing for a complete 82-game regular season, if a deal can be struck soon with the locked out players.
Unable to work out how to split up $3 billion in hockey-related revenues with the players' association, the NHL wiped out 82 games from Oct. 11 through Oct. 24 — beginning with four next Thursday, which would have been the league's opening night.
"We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "The game deserves better, the fans deserve better, and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.
"We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams, and good for our fans. This is not about ‘winning' or ‘losing' a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the league and the game. We are committed to getting this done."
The union countered Thursday by saying the NHL forced the lockout onto the players instead of letting the season go on as planned.