For the second time in as many years, a major professional sports league has canceled games due to an owner-imposed lockout.
National Hockey League owners chose to cancel the first two weeks of the 2012-13 regular season Thursday due to the their ongoing lockout of the players’ union.
The cancellations mark the third time in NHL history that the season has been at least delayed due to a lockout. In two decades under commissioner Gary Bettman, NHL owners have yet to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union without first imposing a lockout and cancelling games.
This is the second straight year a major professional sports league has lost games due to a lockout. NBA Commissioner David Stern and league owners chose to cancel the first six scheduled weeks of the 2011-12 NBA season in pursuit of a better deal with the players.
In recent years, the NBA and NHL have been the only leagues willing to put games at risk during collective bargaining negotiations. Since Major League Baseball canceled the World Series due to a players’ strike in 1994, the NBA and NHL have delayed or canceled portions of five regular seasons (1994-95 NHL, 1998-99 NBA, 2004-05 NHL, 2011-12 NBA and 2012-13 NHL).
By contrast, baseball and the National Football League — combined — have lost a single game due to labor-management conflict over the same span (the 2011 NFL Hall of Fame Game).
Depending on the length of the eventual NHL CBA (the owners are seeking six years and the players have offered five), the NHL and NBA could impose concurrent lockouts in 2017.
The 2012 NHL lockout is the fourth work stoppage in league history (one players’ strike and three owner-imposed lockouts), and the third pro sports lockout in the past two years (all owner-imposed lockouts).
(Thursday’s news from NHL.com)