NHL cancels regular season games through Nov. 1
A nearly empty hockey stick rack in the Buffalo Sabres locker room is shown at the First Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey team, in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP / David Duprey)
Published Friday, October 19, 2012 2:27PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 19, 2012 7:20PM EDT
With little hope of a deal with players, the National Hockey League announced Friday afternoon it’s cancelling another group of regular-season games through to Nov. 1.
“The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL,” the league said in a statement.
With the players locked out since Sept. 15, the league had already cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season. Friday’s announcement means that 135 games – 11 per cent of the season -- have been scrapped so far.
Still, the league is leaving the door open that an 82-game season could begin Nov. 2, but only if a deal is struck by Oct. 25.
"We continue to work hard to find an agreement and get back to playing hockey,” New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron told The Associated Press in a text message.
The announcement follows Thursday’s short and unproductive bargaining session between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association, in which the players tabled three counter-proposals to the league’s latest offer of a 50-50 revenue split.
"None of the three variations of player share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50, either at all or for some long period of time,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said after emerging from that session.
"It's clear we're not speaking the same language,” he added.
Former player Mathieu Schneider, now the NHLPA special assistant to the executive director, expressed disappointment about the cancellation.
"The players made another major move in the negotiations this week in an effort to end the lockout, by presenting the owners with a proposal that gets to a 50-50 split of revenues,” he said. "In return, we expect that owners will honour the current contracts they have already signed, which everyone knows is fair."
The dispute is the NHL’s third lockout in 18 years. According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the league has already lost at least $250 million in revenue this season.
With files from The Associated Press