Following the announcement on Thursday by the NHL that all regular season games scheduled from Oct. 11 to Oct. 24 had been cancelled, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr released a statement.
Fehr contended that games did not have to be cancelled and that if the owners cared about the fans, they would lift the lockout during the course of the negotiation so that games could still be played. He continued by asserting that the players were still interested in playing hockey during the negotiations and that the lockout was a tactic to gain massive concessions from the NHLPA.
Here is the press release in its entirety, via The Tennessean:
"The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."
As of this time, the two sides are not expected to meet again until next week. The last round of negotiations failed to bridge the gap on key issues such as core economics and defining hockey-related revenue.