Canadian NHL teams hit hardest during lockout as losses start piling up

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (QMI AGENCY)

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (QMI AGENCY)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:36 PM ET

The lockout losses are already piling up for NHL owners and the Canadian teams are among those taking the hardest hit, QMI Agency has learned.

Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, told reporters following Tuesday's short bargaining session in New York the league has already suffered almost $100-million in losses because of the cancellation of the pre-season.

"By losing the pre-season we've probably done close to $100-million in damage to the business that is not going to be recouped and that's going to cost both sides and that's unfortunate," Daly admitted to reporters in New York.

A league insider told QMI Agency he believes more than $20-million of that pain is being felt by the seven Canadian clubs. He estimated the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks are suffering the largest losses.

It's believed the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames bring in $2-to-$2.5 million in revenues if they host three exhibition games.

"The owners have already been hurt and that's the message Bill Daly was trying to get across (Tuesday)," said the insider. "The players aren't paid during training camp, they get all of the gates plus concessions, parking and any other revenues.

"Anything you make from the pre-season is just gravy and not having it is costly. Yes, losing regular-season games will hurt even more, but the players seem to forget that the NHL has already lost a lot of money as a result of this lockout."

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, who didn't attend the session, said the league chose this route.

"This is a lockout they decided to have. It was a lockout of choice," said Fehr. "There was no reason for it. Negotiations could still be ongoing. If there's a problem here, maybe somebody ought to look in the mirror over there."

The two sides sat down to continue discussions on hockey-related revenue (HRR) but came up empty on Sixth Avenue. According to Daly, the NHLPA hasn't shown any willingness to negotiate and both sides started sniping at each other.

"I don't really have any progress to report. In fact, no progress was made," said Daly.

And, they can't even agree on that front.

"The definition of no progress that comes out of the NHL office seems to be 'They didn't give us what we want yet.,'" said Fehr. "Progress is giving them what they want, it's not finding a way to come a mutually acceptable understanding."

Daly said the two sides have to work on the economic issues if there's going to be an agreement.

"(Tuesday) wasn't overly-encouraging," said Daly. "It goes back to us really tackling the main issues that are at issue in this negotiation and seeing if we have some traction towards a middle ground.

"We're looking for a long-term deal that is fair for the players, fair for teams and good for fans. That's what we want out of this and we need a negotiating partner to get there."

Fehr disputed the notion the players haven't tried to show compromise through the process.

"It's clear that the players have made substantial moves towards the owners and the owners have made substantial moves away from the players," he said.

Many believe a mediator could solve the dispute but at this juncture neither side wants to go that route. Daly said the union has to show more flexibility.

"Until they show willingness to compromise I'm not sure how we get this done," said Daly.

And, the financial pain is only going to grow.

TYPICAL CANADIAN GATES

A league insider told QMI Agency Tuesday Canadian teams account for approximately 20% of league revenues. Here's a breakdown of what he estimates the pre-season losses are for each of the Canadian teams based on three home games:

• Toronto, $6 million
• Vancouver, $4 million
• Montreal, $2.5 million
• Ottawa, $2.25 million
• Edmonton, $2.25 million
• Calgary, $2.25 million
• Winnipeg, $2 million

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @sungarrioch


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