Leonsis and Bettman attend a screening of ‘Nanking’ back in 2007. (Photo credit: Brad Barket)
On Wednesday, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr exchanged new proposals to once again try and avoid a lockout. The NHL sweetened its offer to players, proposing a new six-year deal that would initially give the NHLPA 49% of all hockey revenue (down from 57%) and not force a rollback of salaries. The NHLPA countered with a deal that would start them off at 54.3%, and which over time would drop their slice of the pie to 52.7%. Bettman is also threatening to take the NHL’s current proposal completely off the table if it’s not signed by Saturday.
There have been no new developments since then, however, and the actual signing of a new CBA before midnight on Saturday still seems unlikely. So in that vein, Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis sent out an email to the Caps season ticket holder base early Thursday evening explaining protocol on what would happen if there is a work stoppage and declaring “that the NHL’s priority is to reach an agreement with the players.”
The full text of the email is below.
Dear [Season Ticket Holder],
As you know, the National Hockey League and the Players’ Association are in the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires Sept. 15, and while we hope to successfully reach an agreement by that date, there remains the possibility that negotiations for a successor agreement will not be concluded and a work stoppage may ensue. If that happens, training camps may not open on time and games may be cancelled. If that occurs, we have adopted a set of policies and procedures regarding your season-ticket holder account.
Obviously we will not charge your account for any NHL game, preseason or regular season, that is not played. If an agreement is not reached by Sept. 15, we will suspend our monthly payment plan and your account will not be charged until further notice. In appreciation of your continued support and loyalty we would like to provide you with a 1% APR interest on the funds you have on account related to games that are not played. In the days ahead you will receive additional information that goes into greater detail regarding the interest and refund policy.
I want to assure you that the NHL’s priority is to reach an agreement with the players. We all want to talk about exciting games, upcoming opponents and great plays, not the nuances of labor negotiation. We get it – and I empathize with you.
All of us at the Capitals appreciate your support and the passion you bring to Verizon Center. In a few short years you have turned our arena into one of the best and loudest buildings in the NHL. We all appreciate your loyalty, and I hope to see you all very soon at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and Verizon Center.
With my appreciation and gratitude,
With only two full days left in negotiations, it’s not looking too good.