what causes an nhl lockout?
the NHL basically has two participating bodies in lockouts, the league itself as in the owners as they’re represented by Gary Bettman. In fact, Bettman has little control over everything, he’s basically just a lawyer the group of owners hired to represent them in situations like a lockout. The other group is the NHL Players Association, basically the union of the players. Each team elects two players to the NHLPA as a voting member as a representative. The NHLPA then fights for what the players want from the NHL.
A lockout itself revolves around a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which is basically a contract that both the NHL Owners and PA agree on and that’s what they play hockey under. You need this to play hockey as it outlines everything from player contracts to roommate assignments. For instance, you may remember in 2013 when the NHL was working out another CBA and the league didn’t start until January because there were no rules they were playing under. It’s sort of like if the USA had to rewrite the constitution every 10 years, the league can’t function without it. One of the things they changed in 2013 was the age limit on contracts, all of the sudden you could only sign players to 8-year contracts because there were players being signed to 15-year contracts (who are still playing in them). Also before 2013 all nhl players had a roommate on road trips, now they all get their own rooms besides rookies. That’s how specific the CBA can get.
Lockouts come about when a CBA runs out and they have to renegotiate what it’ll include. I always have said lockouts are billionaires and millionaires fighting over money because that’s kind of what it is. It’s important for the sport but as a university student or blue collar worker, a lot of fans get frustrated with the concept and rightly so. It usually involves the owners lowering player rights and the players trying to gain more. These goals are inherently at war with each other which is where lockouts come to fruition. It’s generally about every 10 years but can be shorter because some CBA’s have lockout clauses which I believe this one has in 3 years.
The CBA the league is operating under right now has come under fire recently because of the Olympic situation in 2018. The owners seem hell-bent on missing the Olympics while huge representatives of the players like Alexander Ovechkin (and a lot of star Russian players) have threatened to go regardless of what the NHL decides. The Olympics really is a whole other issue and I personally do not believe they will miss it just that the NHL Owners are going to put up a hell of a fight until they eventually give in because what’s the NHL without their players? honestly. but Anyway the NHL has said they will say yes to the Olympics if two conditions are met. 1. The IIHF (international Ice Hockey federation) must pay the 10 million for players insurance and housing. This has already been met as the IIHF happily allocated the money for this. and 2. The NHLPA has to agree to extend the CBA instead of opting out in a few years. The NHLPA has said “shut the fuck up are you crazy” in response (not really but come on???).
With these limits, the NHL has basically admitted 2 things: They don’t realize how important the NHL and it’s players are to international hockey (the IIHF easily and happily supported the players wishes when the NHL obviously thought the IIHF would not), and that the CBA is a steal for them. I don’t know what the CBA says but if they feel the need to hold the Olympics over the players heads that’s them admitting they know they got more than they deserved and the NHLPA isn’t blinking (which is a good thing imo). This to me only spells trouble. While I support the NHLPA in trying to give the players what they want to me this means a lockout is looming (somewhere around the 2020-21 season I think but don’t quote me on that). The NHLPA basically admitted they will not extend it which means it won’t last it’s full 10 years before we have to deal with this bullshit again.
I hope this helps