With the lockout now threatening the regular season, New Jersey US Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez wrote a letter to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA boss Donald Fehr urging them to negotiate a new CBA, according to the Bergen Record.
The Senators state that the “cancellation of the preseason will negatively affect workers, businesses, and families in our state, and a failure to resolve this dispute in time for the regular season would impose an even greater hardship.”
They added that the a canceled NHL season could result in “millions of dollars in lost economic activity” in Newark and it could leave people out of work “when our state unemployment rate is already at a 30-year high.”
They also argued that other NHL cities will face similar hardships in the event of a lost hockey season.
“As you consider your next steps, we encourage you to keep in mind the communities, workers and families that would be hurt by a further disruption in the season,” the letter urges Bettman and Fehr.
It concludes with, “Businesses, workers and hockey fans played no role in causing this dispute, and it is unfair for them to have to bear this burden. The Senate has jurisdiction over interstate commercial activities, including professional sports, and will keep a close eye on your negotiations with hope that you will work diligently and quickly to resolve this matter.”
Meanwhile the league and union will resume their CBA negotiations on Tuesday, but they will continue to avoid the critical issue of the division of hockey-related revenue. Instead, they will focus on the definition of HRR.