SBD/Issue 33/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NLL, PLPA Formally Announce New CBA That Saves '08 Season

The NLL formally announced a new seven-year CBA with the Professional Lacrosse Player’s Association (PLPA) through the 2014 season, the longest labor deal in the 22-year history of pro indoor lacrosse. The ’08 season was initially canceled last week after a deal was not reached (NLL). In Philadelphia, Gary Miles reports the parties agreed to a 5% increase in the maximum veteran and franchise-player salaries, and a 6% increase for other players. A dispersal draft will be held “if any teams cannot play this season because of problems with arenas in regaining playing dates they gave up” last week (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/26). NLL Calgary Roughnecks Owner Brad Banister said, "It took a lot of hard work by myself and [NLL Edmonton Rush Owner] Bruce Urban to convince the league to reopen negotiations" (CALGARY HERALD, 10/26). NLL Colorado Mammoth G and PLPA treasurer Gee Nash said, “There’s a commitment that the players grow with the league. We’re satisfied that did occur, and in turn, we gave the league more in terms, a seven-year contract. The challenge now is for [NLL Commissioner Jim] Jennings to take the league to the next level” (DENVER POST, 10/26).

RAMIFICATIONS OF DECISION: In Toronto, Allan Ryan notes some teams are “expressing concern” about getting back game dates at arenas after the clubs released them last week. Also, the expansion Boston Breakers will begin play in ’09 as opposed to ’08 as originally expected. Jennings said, “I wish I could say it was a great negotiating ploy but I can’t. It was dead as dead could be. I know I was quoted as saying the season was impossible to get back, but I’m glad I was wrong.” NLL Toronto Rock player Chris Driscoll said, “Lacrosse is still in the growing stages. It’s a delicate thing and, in my opinion, I don’t think lacrosse would’ve come back (had the season been lost)” (TORONTO STAR, 10/26). NLL Portland LumberJax F Ryan Powell said, “We just waited a little bit too long to start the negotiating process. I was really disappointed that there wasn’t going to be a season. It would have been a big step backward” (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/26). NLL Arizona Sting GM & coach Bob Hamley said, “We needed a long-term agreement. ... Now we can try to get this game to the next level.” The new ’08 schedule should be released next week (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/26).

FANS ON ROLLER COSTER: In Portland, Ryan White writes despite Jennings saying the season was “dead” after last week’s announcement, it “clearly ... isn’t dead. It’s very much alive, much to the benefit of the owners, the players and the fans.” White: “Ah, yes. The fans. ‘The most important people of all,’ Jennings called them. So important that everyone was happy to jerk them around. ... We’re feeling used, misled and a little dirty” (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/26). In Calgary, George Johnson writes the cancellation "comes off as just another transparent, hard-line, heavy-handed labour relations ploy."  Johnson: "Don't jack around your players and fans and then bank on everyone being so overcome with joy to see you back that they'll laugh when you tell them, sheepishly, 'Just kidding'" (CALGARY HERALD, 10/26).

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