The NHL lockout is over: But is it too late?
Some of the highlights of the terms:
It is a 10-year agreement, with an option to opt out for 8 years. So we'll have at least 8 seasons of lockout-free hockey.
The salary cap for the 2013-14 season will be $64.3M.
Free agent contracts can be a maximum of 7 years, or 8 years when a team is re-signing their own player.
Also, in order to prevent contracts that try to get around the salary cap, the lowest paying year of a contract can't be more than 50% of the highest season.
This deal salvages the 2013-14 season, but will it salvage the league in general?
After the 3rd lockout since 1994, many casual fans have lost patience with the league. Yes, they'll watch games on TV again, but they probably won't spend a lot of money going to games or buying apparel.
The diehard fans, as we've seen in the past, will always come back. There are many fans who can't live without hockey, and have been watching Junior Hockey tournaments on the NHL Network for the past few weeks, and are now doing backflips at the news that the lockout is over.
The casual fans, however, find it hard to empathize with either side. They just want a normal season with plenty of games. The last thing anyone wants to hear about is rich hockey players and richer owners arguing over amounts of money that most fans will never see in their lifetime.
Most likely, both the owners and players lost more money from this lockout than they would have lost if they had just caved to the other side's demands in the first place.
The NHL has a long road ahead of them, and they have a lot of work to do if they want to recover. Fortunately, with a shorter season, it just means playoff hockey will come sooner than normal. And if there's anything that can bring back fans, it's playoff hockey.
Welcome back, hockey.