Blog Entry

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:40 am

By Brian Stubits

Every day I look at what the NBA is going through with its lockout and hope hockey doesn't face the same, again. I keep my hopes buoyed by the belief that so many of the people currently involved went through it then and don't want to lose another season.

But perhaps a bit of good faith in negotiating has slipped away after a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

We can’t tell you whether this is a case of hide-and-seek, but Slap Shots has learned from several sources that after exercising its right for the first time to audit select NHL clubs, the NHLPA believes it has discovered unreported revenues from last season.

This, in addition to a dispute over whether the $25 million Glendale, Ariz., paid the NHL to keep the Coyotes from absconding to Winnipeg should be considered hockey-related revenue, is what is holding up issuance of the escrow refunds to the players and checks to the owners who qualify for the second round of 2010-11 revenue sharing.

We’re told Washington and Nashville are among at least a handful of clubs that have been cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue, with the matter now more likely than not to be decided in arbitration.

You can credit the NHLPA's findings to Donald Fehr, the new union head who ordered the audit to be done, something the NHLPA hadn't done in past years. I doubt knowledge of this won't harden Fehr's stance as he prepares to begin negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement after the All-Star break.

It's possible that this missing income was unintentional; I don't want to rule that part out. But it doesn't seem likely and the appearance certainly isn't pretty for the owners. The question remains and will remain; how much had owners been withholding in past seasons? The NHLPA can't find that out now as the books are closed.

Brooks also reports that a high-ranking executive identified only as one from a team that is doing well on and off the ice that players “will get 48 to 50 percent, and there will be a rollback” in the next CBA. Certainly this will be the owners' stance to begin with, but making it happen is another thing altogether. The players are receiving 57 percent of the revenue right now, it will be tough to get them to back down much off that number, especially now that it was revealed some teams weren't being forthright and the players weren't getting all of their 57 percent.

Now please don't let this hamper the negotiations. I'm not ready for another lockout, the offseason is bad enough.

Photo: Getty Images

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Category: NHL

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:52 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

This could be HUGE if it was intentionally done. I wonder what type of penalties the guilty franchises will have to face. I do not see another rollback of salaries from the players. They rolled back 25% last time and I can't see them agreeing to do it again.


I kind of think Paul Holgren thinks it will happen the way he's be giving out extensions to players like JVR and Coburn at well over 4 mil per season.


Hopefully this gets hammered out and no lockout happens.

Since: Nov 14, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:26 pm
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Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:27 am

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Big shock.   Owners hiding money from hockey operations revenue day one of the current CBA.   NHLPA, as always, about a few years behind in the game.   I hope this was something Fehr ordered (the audit) the first month after his hire.    Too many loopholes to hide revenue, expecially relating to the stadiums and related overhead.    Owners had been positioning themselves for years to protect the cap, this won't change anything. 

NHLPA should focus on tightening up the rules for reporting revenue, any hidden revenue won't be significant enough to influence their position, too late in the game.    Owners own this thing, unfortunately.  

NBA mess is going to keep players from making too much of a stink.   With so many teams for sale, and a few seemingly positioned for a sale, NHLPA will be a little apprehensive.   It doesn't help that 13 or more franchises were in the red last year.    Hidden revenue or not, unless Fehr has enough time to expose all the franchises, it's not going to make much difference.

Players need to start speaking up NOW.   I doubt they will, no reason to trust their own leadersip the last 17 years.   Keep working Fehr.  

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:36 am

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Not sure about other teams, but Flyers tickets are expensive.  To the point that it costs more to see a Flyers game than a phillies or an eagles game.  If the NHL thinks they can pay everyone more by riding the backs of the fans that go to the games and actually pay the bills, then I think they are sadly mistaken.  I hope they can come to an agreement before even talk of a holdout is brought up because they will lose even more fans and they already are pretty low on the list to begin with.  Bottom line, owners put their money up to run a team (business), if the team losses money, it comes out of the owners pocket.  Owners take all the risk.  Players get paid good money to play a game for a living.  If they want a bigger cut, they should buy the teams from the current owners and pay themselves what they feel they deserve, but they will see how quickly all the revenue the teams generate go back out the door to all the employees they have to pay, regular joe guys.  Remember, teams pay for everything you see at a game, yes they generate revenue from them too, but players from all sports are getting too greedy. 

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:37 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Even if by the 1/100 odds of Bettman actually getting canned.  I still wouldn't think it would be worth it.  Bettman will be replaced by Bettman V.2 followed by Bettman V.3

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:49 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Way to go Fehr. This gives the players and edge in negotiating the next CBA.

NHL players will never have an edge in negotiations, not one bit.  Of the 4 major sports the NHL is by far the least popular, with baseball and basketball players killing what NHL players see on their paychecks.  After missing a season the last time they got locked out and losing out on everything including a hard cap they swore they would never accept, the players won't have the balls to sit out.

Don't want to see another strike or lockout but if the CBA outcome gets bettman's fired then it'll be worth it.

I don't like Bettman, I never did like Bettman and probably never will.  But I highly doubt he's going to get fired.  Bettman works for the owners, not the other way around.  If an owner is hiding some revenue from the players, it's not Bettman's fault.  And unless Bettman is hiding funds and personally pocketing cash behind everybody's back, nothing he hides will get him fired since the owners would benefit from any scam Bettman pulls.


Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:30 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Deciding whether the bribe the City of Glendale paid the NHL should be considered revenue ??  Good one, Fehr.  How about the franchise just folds completely, and the NHLPA loses 23 roster spots.  This entire audit is simply a chest-thumping exercise to try to improve the players' chances of getting a more favorable CBA. 

The reality is that the NHL is a hodge-podge of healthy franchises and sick ones.  Of course there are a few franchises that have profits- maybe even so much that they hide a few hundred thousand bucks by using legal tricks.  But finding a few irregularities in a couple of teams doesn't prove that this is a highly profitable league yet, or one that can afford to raise the salary caps by 45%. 

The bottom line is that the NHL has learned its lesson what a lost season can do- both owners and players.  At least the owners opened the books; something the NBA and NFL owners won't do.


Now please don't let this hamper the negotiations. I'm not ready for another lockout, the offseason is bad enough.
Well said.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:06 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Way to go Fehr. This gives the players and edge in negotiating the next CBA.

Figures some crooked owners hiding revenue, screwing players out of money. Typical executives in American business.

This makes Nashville look really bad since they don't spend anywhere near the cap ceiling ever and did next to nothing to improve their forward scoring through free agency and trades lately.

Finally the players got a rep worthy of going against the evil bettman/daly law firm and BOGs.

Don't want to see another strike or lockout but if the CBA outcome gets bettman's fired then it'll be worth it.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 6:14 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

I don't care about Stubbs opinions.  North American pro sports owners seem to have started living in the 40s sports era again, where owners magically control everything again.  Despite 21st century reality showing that they no longer live in that era anymore, and you cannot be playing poor cards anymore.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 3:38 pm

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

Wow.  I'll wait for everything to come out before making any judgements. 
Can you imagine the response if it's true a team like Nashville was hiding profits?  It will ruin them.  Years of playing with the bare Min salary cap because they say they can't afford anymore.  This could be huge.

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