SBD/December 2, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Cap Likely To See Big Jump After Rogers Deal, But Is That Good For All Teams?

The NHL salary cap "already was expected to increase alongside the game’s growing revenues," but the league's deal last week with Rogers Communications for the Canadian TV rights will "likely make for a bigger and more accelerated bump," according to Brendan Kennedy of the TORONTO STAR. A higher salary cap means "more spending power for larger-market teams." The "immediate salary bump aside, 12 years is a long time and player agent Anton Thun, for one, cautioned against reading too much into" the C$5.2B figure rather than the duration of the contract (TORONTO STAR, 11/28). The CBC's Elliotte Friedman reported there are teams who believe the NHL will have an $80M salary cap "probably within three years" as a result of the Rogers deal. They also think it will jump to $90M in five years. Friedman: "That's great news for the big revenue clubs … who want to flex their muscle and their money. But I think it's going to be a bit of a concern for some of the teams as the floor goes to probably about $60 million." He noted the league "will probably give some projections" to teams during the BOG meeting next week. The CBC's Glenn Healy said, "We're getting to the stage now where you've got the haves and the have-nots, and the teams at the bottom are concerned" ("HNIC," CBC, 11/30). Meanwhile, in Boston, Fluto Shinzawa noted the deal also "just about guarantees an eighth Canadian team" will join the NHL ranks. The "logical spot is Quebec City" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/1).

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS: In Denver, Chambers & Dater write the NHL, "much like the NFL, has instituted several safety measures in an effort to curb head injuries." However, it has made "no head-on effort to ban fighting, in large part because fans, and players, consider it to be as essential to the game's fabric as the power play." But the "courts might ultimately have the biggest say if bare-knuckle fighting continues" (DENVER POST, 12/2).

WE ARE FAMILY? The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts noted the NHL Alumni Association "calls itself 'Hockey’s Greatest Family,' but it is far from hockey’s happiest family." Many former players are "complaining about a lack of communication and support from an association they say only concerns itself with a small group of members in the Toronto area." Former NHLer René Robert said, "It's become a Toronto clique. We've got guys who don't know we exist. They've never been contacted and don't have a clue what this is about." A group of former NHLers is "unhappy enough" to have sent Exec Dir Mark Napier a "five-page list of questions concerning various matters" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/30).
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