Donald Fehr and his Vision: Good for Canada?


What he did as leader of the MLBPA should last over to hockey...

First off, cut the crap about Donald Fehr, former president of the MLB Player’s Association as signing on as an advisor. You know it, I know it, the kid next door knows it, Donald Fehr will become the next president of the NHLPA. There’s no question about it in my mind. Fehr is like-able among the players, and the Competition Committee has already supported the idea of him taking the mantle at the Player’s Association.

When Fehr was with the MLBPA, he lead on many new projects, the biggest one being getting rid of the salary cap and instead introducing the luxury tax. It was a bold move at the time, and it allowed high-payroll teams such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to go out and get whoever they want with no limitations. In the last five years, the Yanks and Sox have won 3 titles, and they likely can owe it all to Donny Boy from the PA.

So let’s say Fehr becomes president of the NHLPA. Recently, Ilya Kovalchuk has signed a rumored 17-year contract, front-loaded at the beginning but worthless at the end, when he should be hanging up the skates. Gary Bettman hates those things, it reduces competition among the teams and gets rid of equality and balance in the hockey world. The last lock-out was because players were getting paid too much. Somehow, Bettman convinces owners that in order to prevent a lock-out when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2012-2013 season, they abolish the salary cap.

Fehr gets his wish, of course. So, as we said before, this benefits top-end teams, such as five of the six Canadian hockey teams. All of the Canadiens, Leafs, Senators, Canucks, and Flames have fiscal imbalancement not from their fault, but from the fault of a team in Atlanta, or in Nashville, low-market teams in the United States. Without a salary cap, they can lower tickets for fans, which means more fans, more money. More money, more free agents acquired. More free agents acquired, more fans. More fans, more money. The cycle keeps going on and on.

I won’t include the Edmonton Oilers, and although their fans are one of the best in the league, Rexall Place is too small, the city is the smallest market in the NHL, and second-smallest in professional sports. Darryl Katz’s new plan to build a new arena is going to plan, and maybe be rejected by city council as I hear from a friend in E-Town.

The only problem, and this is one of my concerns, is the certain effect of teams like what has happened to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the MLB. They can’t get anyone decent because their payroll is low and attendance isn’t even in the thousands. This could happen with teams like the Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, or Nashville Predators. However, when looking from a Canadian Fan perspective, not only would this mean better Canadian teams well built for Stanley Cup contention in the future, but also the possibility of a 7th team in the Great White North.

Tags: 7th Team In Canada Atlanta Thrashers Calgary Flames CBA Donald Fehr Edmonton Oilers Gary Bettman Lockout Luxury Tax Montreal Canadiens NHLPA Ottawa Senators Salary Cap Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks