Short of their being a totally confusing breakdown in communication between the players and the NHLPA leadership, the ratification of the new CBA that will keep the NHL on the ice and out of the courtroom will be a done deal. This ten(with opt outs at eight)year deal will very likely mean the last time we see Gary Bettman and Don Fehr duking it out for the sake of their employees. Even though this CBA fight could be considered a provisional victory for the players union, the only true loser here was the fans.
The players have been throwing out their apologies, commissioner Bettman has fired off his, and now it was just a matter of time till Bettman’s puppet master decided to throw out an apology as well. Boston Bruins owner and governor Jeremy Jacobs addressed the media and sent out his apology to the fan base. He apologized for the war he essentially started. This is the man who led the hard-liners amongst the owners and if not for his participation, this lockout could have been cut in half(or perhaps never been started at all.)
“On behalf of the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors, I am pleased to report that today we unanimously voted to ratify a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Hockey League Players’ Association,” said Jacobs to the gathered press in New York City. “Which means, to our fans all around the globe, hockey is back. This great game has been gone for far too long, and for that we are truly sorry,” continued Jacobs. “The Board today also expressed its appreciation for the professionalism and commitment, to our clubs and to the sport, that Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Daly displayed throughout this difficult period.”Gary, Bill and their staff worked tirelessly from long before the lockout began in an effort to reach a constructive conclusion. “Gary and Bill have the complete and unconditional support of the Board – and our gratitude.”
(It does give a small level of comfort to know that this will very likely be the last lockout presided over by Gary Bettman. The man is sixty years old and looks visibly worn by the level of abuse this particular lockout has caused. If Daly gets the bump up, this will be a very good thing. Throughout the lockout, Bill Daly worked to keep lines of communication open between the warring parties. At times, he was probably the players’ only ally at the NHL, and he occasionally served as the voice of reason in this mess.)
“As our League moves toward what we know will be a period of growth for the sport, and a time of great excitement and entertainment for our fans, I would add the appreciation of the Board for the dedication the players showed during the negotiating process – and for their role in securing an agreement that will move the National Hockey League forward in the years ahead,” said Jacobs. “There’s no doubt we all love this game. Together our collective future is extremely bright.
“Our only interest now is to look ahead and to focus on what this great game can provide to the best sports fans in the world.”
I am extremely curious to see EXACTLY how the NHL will provide for the best fans in the world after taking them on this four month carnival ride from hell. I guess these next few weeks will tell us if this was sincere or if we’re just still nothing more than ‘sheep with wallets’ to them. With all this finally out of the way, the Bruins can concentrate on bringing the Cup back home to Boston.