National Hockey League players and club owners reached the 100th day of the league’s shutdown over money issues Monday with no talks planned and shrinking hope to salvage even a shortened season.
Owners locked out players in September after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement that was reached after the 2004-2005 season was wiped out by a similar bitter fight over money.
Team owners have wiped out 625 games through January 14, just over half the planned schedule that was to have started in October, and vow they will not stage a season with less than 48 games per team, requiring a mid-January deal.
Players, who were paid 57 percent of revenues under the old deal, have moved closer to the 50-50 split found in other North American sports, but want owners to increase the amount of shared revenue from strong teams to bolster the fortunes of owners pleading poverty under the previous system.
Ice hockey fans, who returned from the prior lockout in record-setting numbers, have lost half a season because rich players and richer owners cannot hammer out a way to divide $3.3 billion in annual revenues.
Players have approved decertifying the NHL Players Association as a union to allow players to file US anti-trust lawsuits against NHL club owners, although that move has not yet been made.
In prior NBA and National Football League squabbles over money, decertifying was used as a leverage move by players to help push a compromise deal rather than have both sides undergo a lengthy court fight.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]