Two years ago, I wrote that I thought Kansas City’s best chance for an NHL team rested on the shoulders of a man most of us in KC can’t stand — Donald Fehr. Yes, Fehr, the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) lawyer who ruined the only chance the Royals had to make the playoffs in the last 20 years.
“Let’s just say Donald Fehr represents the NHLPA. And, let’s just say that he provides the only formidable foe that is equal to Bettman’s intelligence, stubbornness and pugnacity.”
Nailed that one. He has.
“Now, let’s assume Fehr wins something back for the players. I don’t know what that would be — a higher salary cap, a “softer” cap like that silly, pointless cap they have in the NBA…something.”
Almost nailed that one, but it’s going even farther. Fehr started threatening to go with a “No Cap” extreme in bargaining. Now, it seems Fehr may be on the verge of creating more jobs.
And, let’s say that Bettman’s argument against it is, “Yes, some veterans seem to be losing their job as cap casualties. However, I would rather a few veteran players lose their multi-million dollar salaries than have entire franchises fold, which they will if we agree to the NHLPA demands.
Bettman hasn’t said this, but he’s intimated it.
The NHLPA wins a few too many concessions because, well, as much as we hate him in KC for what he did in MLB, Fehr is that good. Out of spite, Bettman retaliates by telling Atlanta or Raleigh or Miami or, possibly even Edmonton or Ottawa, “OK, you are free to sell and I don’t care if you relocate because, well, we warned the NHLPA.”
Funny how I wrote “Atlanta” that titanic crashed already. The NHL’s latest proposal seems to leading toward an agreement that will save the season. The agreement is a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue and, possibly, a “real” plan to increase revenue to levels the NHL has never seen before.
Two years ago, I wrote:
At THAT point, I believe KC gets back in the game — that is, if there is an owner.
Unfortunately, I think this ship may have sailed since, there I still no owner is sight. The NHL may be moving toward 32 teams. If there was an owner, we may be in the running…may be. Expansion fees are astronomical. Far higher than just purchasing a franchise for $150M in pocket change.
While Bettman is in charge, selecting the markets and, seemingly, winning battles with the NHLPA, no franchise is ever going to move to KC or Hamilton or Hartford or Winnipeg or Seattle (I’m leaving out Las Vegas because that rumor is just nonsense)
What bothers me is that the NHL is trying to dictate what percentage of money the NHLPA gets AND dictating how the league creates the revenue. The NHLPA may be willing to settle for a true 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue. The NHLPA should also get some say in how it’s generated. The HRR is significantly reduced because Gary Bettman has a giant ego and insists on keeping a franchise in that money losing pit in Glendale, AZ.
Think about this…if the players took 49%, but the 30th NHL franchise was in Markham, ONT instead of Glendale, AZ, wouldn’t the pot of money for the players be larger? Say what you will about sun and golf, but I’m sure many players would rather play in the Greater Toronto Area than in Phoenix.
I’ll be interested to see what they have in The Hockey News in a couple of weeks. Toronto makes sense. Quebec City…a little less so even though QC seems to have an ownership group in place.