Arguably the greatest player in the history of the NHL, Wayne Gretzky, is convinced the NHL lockout will be over before 2013. In other words he thinks the lockout will be over by January 1st, just in time for the Winter Classic. That would make sense when considering the ratings, money and ticket sales at stake for the NHL if the game is cancelled. The Winter Classic is set to take place outside in Michigan Stadium between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs (both teams have huge followings and tons of die-hard fans as they are “Original 6″ franchises).
The “Great One” as he is known to the hockey world, believes the hurdles the NHL and NHLPA face in order to write up a new CBA aren’t nearly as difficult as they were back during the NHL’s last lockout in 2003-04. Gretzky expressed his views on the current lockout during a press conference in Toronto after he had just made a speech about on retirement planning.
Here is what Gretzky had to say, ”In 2004 we were changing the whole landscape, ownership wanted to have some sort of revenue sharing, and once we came to the revenue sharing, the hard part from my point of view seems to be out of the way. Now it is a question of working out a number that both sides think is fair. And that is why I believe that I don’t see this lockout being as long as the last one. I believe in my heart, maybe because I’m such a big hockey fan, that they will be playing by January 1st”.
The NHL has already cancelled the entire preseason and is expected to cancel its first batch of regular season games soon as the regular season opener is scheduled for October 11th. The two sides remain far apart mainly because they can’t agree on how to share hockey related revenue in a matter that works for everyone. However, both sides are set to meet again tomorrow to start discussing hockey related revenue and it’s role in the new CBA.