ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- I have to admit I didn’t miss hockey until now. As long as the Cardinals were involved in the playoffs, hockey was the last thing on my mind. It seems like the NHL regular season starts too early anyway. This year it might not start at all.
The league has cancelled games through the end of November, so 26 percent of the season has already been lost. There are currently no new talks scheduled between the players and the owners, and there is the very real chance this lockout will cause the entire season to be missed.
How can this be happening? The league’s revenues, while nowhere close to the NFL, MLB or NBA, are still climbing. The NHL had revenues of $3.2 billion for the 2011-2012 season. Through creative accounting the league claimed a net loss of $14.7 million for the season. Still, they found enough money in their account to pay league Commissioner Gary Bettman almost $8 million in salary. They have three other league executives making more than $2 million per year. Another five employees make between $500,000 and $1.5 million. For a league that claims to be losing money they sure pay their executives well.
The real losers in the hockey lockout aren’t the millionaire league executives, or the team owners, or even the players. It’s the people around the game who desperately need every paycheck. Stadium vendors. Ushers. Parking lot attendants, etc. Even club employees who aren’t getting rich at their front office job. The Blues have laid off many of the people from their office staff. What are those people suppose to do right now?
The whole thing is crazy. It can’t be that difficult to get the players and owners to come to a reasonable agreement. It just can’t be. The players salaries have gotten out of hand (again), but it’s the owners who have agreed to pay those big salaries. It’s past time for Commissioner Bettman to step up and make something happen. Earn that $8 million dollar salary. I didn’t care so much when the Cardinals were threatening to win back to back World Series titles. But now that that’s over, it matters. We need more fall and winter sports entertainment. The Rams only play once a week, and this week they have a bye. That’s won’t cut it. We need hockey in this town and we need it now.