Over the past year we’ve written quite a bit about the business of sports, and unfortunately, lockouts in the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) have given us quite a bit to discuss. We haven’t said much about things going on in the National Hockey League (NHL), perhaps because the script has come to seem so familiar, and there seemed little doubt that after some fireworks, things would finally result in a an unsatisfying deal that got everyone back on the ice a bit late, but in time for a meaningful season. Now it’s December, and they still ain’t playing.
Hockey’s labor history is a sorry one, as the league’s union was run for decades by a shill for the owners who stole money and helped the bosses keep the players in poverty well past the point you’d think that’d be true. In the ’90s, however, players started to make real money,