The 2012 NHL Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, despite the lower television ratings, was a tremendous success for the league. With over 90,000 fans enjoying the festivities over the weekend, it's estimated the NHL generated over $4 million from ticket sales alone -- not counting merchandise sales.
Almost as big of a hit as the game itself, the alumni game between the Rangers and Flyers former greats was a great success for the league. That's why it was a bit surprising when the Toronto Star reported Thursday that the players that played in the game were either not paid at all, or just paid $200 for their services.
"It's not about need. It's about principle. The alumni should be getting a share of this money," said one NHL alumnus who requested anonymity because of his close ties to the league. "Some of the guys are well off. But there are plenty of guys who could use a cheque for a couple of thousand bucks."
I'm sure some people hear the complaints and think it's just more rich athletes looking for more money, but the person above makes a great point: not all of these players are as well off as one would think. NHL players only came into the really big money over the past 20 years or so and not every player in this game received a big payday in his time.
Plus, it's about the players who participated in the game getting some sort of chunk of the money generated from such a big weekend for the league. The NHL says they never anticipated the amount of fans for the event, but the hope is that perhaps these players can be retroactively paid based on the revenue actually generated from the event they played in, and everyone enjoyed so much.