Despite the N.H.L.’s record financial growth in recent years, which reached $3.3 billion in revenue last season, the dispute centers on the owners’ wish to reduce the amount they pay the players. Under the expiring contract, players received 57 percent of revenue. The owners’ latest offer would leave them with 47 percent at the end of a six-year agreement, the equivalent of a 17.5 percent pay cut. The players have offered to accept roughly 53 percent.The players accepted a giant pay cut at the end of the 2004-2005 lockout, they're willing to take a significant pay cut this time, but it's not good enough for the owners. The owners have hugely valuable teams with huge revenues. But they want more. So screw the workers, screw the fans, they're going to take more, one way or another.
It's not just players and fans who are being hurt by this, either. At least one team has laid off staff, and the league is cutting its workers' hours and pay by 20 percent and isn't ruling out layoffs. Many players, meanwhile, are heading overseas to play in other leagues.