It is clear to anyone with even a casual interest in the NHL that there is a clear and marked divide in the ownership ranks. One the one hand their initial salvo at the CBA negotiations said one thing, and their growth and this summers contracts say another.
The demand for five year contracts as the maximum is laughable in light of the eight, thirteen and fourteen year contracts we’ve seen. Players can’t sign a contract that the team didn’t produce. This means their are only two explanations for the long contracts. The first is simply that the owners either have no control over their general managers or possibly that they just don’t pay attention. The second is that they acceptand endorse, even reluctantly, the long contracts.
While explanation number one would clear up much about the operation of some franchises, I sincerely hope it isn’t a widespread reality. The second needn’t be universal, just common enough to occur in many teams. Even if very, very few of the eight year or longer contracts get handed out. To my mind, contract length is as close to a non issue for the league as a whole as it gets.
While the NHLPA and NHL Owners have a large gulf between their positions, obviously, the distance between factions within ownership are just as wide, maybe wider. As the NHL is a collective corporate entity, one has to wonder why the voting structure doesn’t reflect this. The owners, and or their governor proxies are shareholders via revenue in the collective that is the league.
Perhaps a weighted system based on contribution to league revenue needs to be developed. If you set the threshold for full voting rights at not receiving any revenue sharing to keep the team profitable (vs revenue sharing of shared marketing monies) you get 1 vote. If you are below this you could either get 1/2 vote or in a more extreme profile, all the owners receiving revenue to keep them afloat could get 1 collective vote. Owners contributing more than 2/30ths of the total league revenue would get two full votes. Any team contributing more than 3/30ths would get an additional vote.
While certain markets are naturally advantageous, the bottom line is the business men who can make their business work the best should have the larges input, and in this system would, and not be shackled to the ‘thinking’ of owners who don’t get it and can’t produce a viable contribution. The way the NHL is currently doing business, the four year olds are telling Neurosurgeon Mom and Aerospace Engineer Dad how manage their 401k’s and what house to buy.