National Hockey League Case Study

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The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded on November 1917 with only five teams. Now, in 2017, the NHL has grown to thirty-one teams and the NHL Stanley Cup Finals are broadcasted to more than 150 countries and watched in more than 300 million homes. As the league and its and revenue grew, players began to want union representation in order to negotiate for higher salaries and increased benefits. There was an initial attempt to unionize in 1957 when Detroit Red Wings Captain Ted Lindsay took action with New York Lawyer Milton Mound. However, it was not until 1967, under the leadership of Maple Leafs’ Bob Pulford, that the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) was developed. By 2003, a year before one of the largest negotiations …show more content…

Due to rising tensions between the NHL and NHLPA and a general mistrust felt by players toward the league, the two organizations were unable to negotiate a new CBA and the NHL 2004-2005 season was cancelled. The issue at hand was to negotiate a new CBA between players and team owners where both parties were satisfied. Historically, renegotiations were able to be worked out without too much conflict. In 1992, players had been given full control over the marketing rights to their images while arriving at a compromise of a shorter CBA contract length of 2 years. In the 1994-1995 season, the union agreed to the rookie salary cap, unrestricted free agency system, and modifications to the salary arbitration process. However, the 2004 renegotiation was different. The league wanted to further cut costs and limit the growth of players’ salaries by introducing a salary cap and linking salary to revenue. These propositions were met with extreme opposition from players who believed that salaries were not the cause of the league’s financial instability. As a result, the survival of the historic NHL, whose revenue exceeded $2 billion, was left to negotiation between Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, and Bob Goodenow, the executive director of the

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