washingtonpost.com  > Sports > Leagues and Sports > NHL
Pro Hockey

Bettman Expected to Scrap NHL Season

Tuesday, February 15, 2005; Page D02

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has scheduled a news conference in New York for 1 p.m. tomorrow, where he is expected to officially cancel the 2004-05 season.

With more than 824 games, including the All-Star Game, already scrapped, Bettman said the league and players' union needed to be drafting a new collective bargaining agreement by Sunday in order for there to be a 28-game season and the usual four rounds of playoffs

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to cancel the 2004-05 season tomorrow, which would mark the first time since 1919 that the Stanley Cup is not awarded. (J.p. Moczulski -- Reuters)

_____ From The Post _____
Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky take part in six-hour meeting between NHL and players' union but no deal is reached.
Commissioner Gary Bettman officially cancels the NHL season.
There is speculation about where the league goes from here and whether it can survive.
Michael Wilbon: There's no question the league and its owners won this particular battle.
The cancellation may work to the Capitals' advantage in time.
Q&A: What's next?

_____ On Our Site _____
Audio: The Post's Thomas Heath discusses the end of the season.
Video: Bettman announces the cancellation of the season.
What's Your Opinion?

_____ Lockout At a Glance _____
NO SEASON: The NHL season was canceled Feb. 16 over a lockout that started before training camps opened last September. It's the first major North American sport to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.
THE REASON: The NHL and the players' association couldn't resolve how to split revenues from the $2 billion industry. The league demanded a salary cap, but by the time the players agreed to that, it was too late to work out how much the cap would be.
WHAT'S NEXT?: The NHL could seek the declaration of an impasse, which allowing it to implement its last offer, open training camps in September and invite players back. The players' association would likely respond with a strike.

_____NHL Basics_____
Team index
NHL Section

The NHL has awarded the Stanley Cup every year since 1893, with the exception of 1919 when the finals were wiped out by a flu epidemic.

The two sides met with U.S. federal mediators in Washington on Sunday, but no progress was reported.

NHL Executive Vice President Bill Daly met for several hours yesterday with Ted Saskin, the senior director of the NHL Players' Association. At 10:30 p.m. the NHL issued a statement saying "no progress" was made during the session and that no further comment would be made last night.

The owners and players have been deadlocked since Sept. 15, when the owners locked out the players because the union failed to agree to a new system that strictly limited player salaries and benefits to a percentage of overall league revenue.

The union opposes any system the prevents players from earning top dollar.

The owners say they have lost $500 million over the last two years and $1.8 billion over the last decade. The owners said they need the new system in order to know exactly what their future labor costs will be, allowing them to eventually pare the losses and turn a profit.

-- Thomas Heath and Tarik El-Bashir

© 2005 The Washington Post Company