Donald Fehr’s role in labor negotiations on behalf of the NHLPA often gets many people thinking about the past.
The role he had in the 1994 MLB players’ strike that led to the cancellation of the World Series is almost never forgotten, but in Elliotte Friedman’s opinion it’s another situation from baseball that might serve as a good example to try and salvage the season.
Friedman noted as MLB’s CBA came to an end in the middle of the 2002 season, coincidentally eight years after baseball lost the World Series, the players were on the verge of yet another strike led by Fehr. Outbursts and protests from fans across the country at games on deadline day, however, made the owners and players work through the night to piece together a deal and not lose any games.
While the fans don’t play a role in negotiations, they could play a role in the aftermath should the NHL lose another season due to labor problems.
As Friedman says, the owners and Gary Bettman are banking on fans to come back just as strong as they did in 2005 and keep the money rolling in. If NHL fans stay away like baseball fans did after the ’94 strike, that makes the owners’ gamble to lock the players out a very costly one.