September 12 Editorial

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Once again the NHL and the NHLPA are at an impasse and hockey fans are the ones kicked to curb, having to sit patiently and wait it out. The billionaire owners say the millionaire players make too much money. Of course they do! The players say the owners want to cheat them out of their share of hockey-related revenues. Of course they do!

Despite being a tad aloof and persnickety at times, with a perceptible twinge of a condescending demeanor mixed in, Gary Bettman is not the main problem and never has been. It’s the owners who still desperately need protection from themselves, plain and simple. It is the owners who feign a united front demanding a set structure of rules for a collective bargaining agreement, publicly championed by Bettman. No sooner is a CBA in place when many of those same owners proceed to cut the legs out from one another (and Bettman) by circumventing their own rules in order to land a marquee player at any cost. That in turn leaves the smaller-market teams crying foul when escalating salaries spiral out of control, leaving them on the brink of bankruptcy.

This is not an endorsement of the players by any means. Salaries have jumped to an average of $2.45 million from $1.45 million six years ago, so they’ve got little to complain about. For them, it’s about not wanting to give back what the owners so stupidly parted with in the first place. Every time the players get more cash, you’ll be shelling out more dough for tickets or the price you pay for specialty TV packages. It sure won’t eat into the owners’ share that’s for damned sure.

On another note: Can anybody provide a logical reason as to why we still need Canada Post? Personal letters are quickly going the way of the dinosaur. Even Santa uses email to receive Christmas wish lists from all the good little girls and boys. Monthly bills and payments can be received and sent electronically, so all that remains of any consequence are larger packages, but private logistics companies such as FedEx and DHL offer up those services. Why then must taxpayers continue to prop up this money-losing crown corporation (with a recent quarterly loss of $10 million) and its duplication of services?

If you have the answer to any of this – or the Caramilk secret – please don’t mail a lettered response as it could easily be mistaken for one of the many junk flyers filling my mail box. Send an email to angusg@georgemedia.ca or visit us on Twitter @canbizjournal.

Angus Gillespie

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