In a short, plainly worded press release, the NHL announced today the cancellation of the ’12-’13 season through Oct. 24.
NEW YORK — The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24. A total of 82 regular-season games were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Oct. 24.
The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr released the following statement upon cancellation of the first two weeks of the season by the league:
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners,” Fehr said in the news release. “If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”
The news comes as no surprise, as dozens of the NHL’s best players, including the Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin Brooks Laich and Michal Neuvirth are playing overseas instead of participating in NHL training camps, not preparing for an upcoming NHL season but rather acting as gate attractions for the foreign leagues; keeping their legs strong with hopes that the lockout of NHL players in North America ends soon.
Unfortunately, according to those following the situation the closest, the sides still remain miles apart in negotiating a new CBA, jeopardizing not only the now-cancelled first two weeks of the season, but perhaps much, much more.
The Capitals took extraordinary measures to send their NHL coaching staff, including head coach Adam Oates, to AHL Hershey in order to learn the players in the system and “give them something to do,” during the lockout, according to GM George McPhee.