Sample Paper on National Hockey League lockout 2004

Nhl Lockout 2004


The 2004 National Hockey League lockout was an issue that saw the cancellation of what would have been the 88th season of the league. The cancellation of the league set a record in North America, where it became the first time a key professional sports league cancelled an entire season. It also saw the Stanley Cup (the league’s cup) not being awarded. The NHL lockout developed as a result of a labor dispute, and it lasted for not less than ten months. The lockout commenced on September 2004, resulting in 1,230 unplayed games. An agreement that resolved the labor dispute was reached by the negotiating teams on July 2005. Nine days later. The lockout ended through a ratification of the CBA by the players and the NHL owners (Demarco, 2007).

The Causes of the Situation

Bettman, a commissioner, led the league in attempting to manipulate the players to accept a salary structure that linked their salaries to the revenues of the league. According to Bettman, this would assure clubs cost certainty. The league went ahead to present some concepts that were thought to attain cost certainty on July 2004. The concepts were viewed to have ranged from a rigid salary cap to a soft salary cap that had some exceptions. These exceptions were similar to the ones used in the National Basketball Association. Bettman also claimed that it was not possible for a luxury tax to satisfy cost certainty objectives of the league (Demarco, 2007). Some people supported Bettman’s plan as they viewed it as reasonable, while other critics disapproved it as a hard salary cap that lacked revenue sharing. Critics saw the plan as an attempt to gain the support of big teams that did not back Bettman in a previous lockout.

NHLPA challenged the financial claims of the league where it considered cost certainty being an issue that is more than a salary cap. The union therefore rejected the six concepts and preferred to keep the existing system that allowed players to individually negotiate their contracts with the teams. The teams on the other hand had full control of spending the much they wished on players. However, some players criticized the contract system, where they held that unproven players were overpaid. The figures that NHL provided to back their claims were challenged, even though some dealerships had been losing money to the extent of some being declared bankrupt. Many dealerships and small teams hoped for a lockout, as they would raise more money.

Consequences of the Lockout

Majority of the people accused the players for the lockout, while a few people blamed NHL owners. The fact that NHLPA’s players had high salaries took away sympathy from the fans. Several owners declined to lower the prices for tickets suppose there was successful implementation of salary cap and were hence criticized. The lockout led to the emergence of a movement that wished to relinquish the Stanley Cup from the NHL (Demarco, 2007). The cup was supposed to be a challenge cup that was open to Canada’s best hockey team, but since 1926, it had been competed for entirely by NHL teams. A conclusion was met on February 2006, where the trophy was to be awarded to teams that were not in the NHL if the league failed to take place for a season, but the NHL was already playing again by then.

Lessons Learnt

An alarming damage was done on NHL’s brand. NHL is left with the question of what it has to do to ensure that its fans do not cross-check it. NHL’s questions are applicable to any business or organization that faces a crisis. The brand of any business is its best tool that it can use to manage a crisis. However, the business or organization can only use this tool if it leverages it through a smart brave action. The tool can be used by small organizations just as it can be used by large organizations, such as NHL. An organization’s brand can also help the organization in successfully managing more challenges. For instance, it can assist in dealing with bad experience with the customers, or issues of product-quality.

Recommendations and Implementation Ideas

In order to generate workable solutions to a problem, recommendations need to be developed and enhanced. However, in some cases, very minor changes are made on an organization, depending on the best solutions available. For instance, in case of NHL lockout, the talk to solve the dispute did not see major changes. However, that did not make the talk or meeting dull. The managers discussed ideas concerning coach’s challenges, expanded video replay, and three-on-three in overtime (Lewin, Kaufman & Gollan, 2011).

The current system of the NHL was dumb to an extent that any replacement that could be developed would in one way or the other be an improvement. This creates more problems when creating a momentum for change, since it is hard to come to an agreement. In such cases, it would be okay to stipulate that any change would improve a system than it currently was. Many ideas can then be generated concerning the existing dispute, and these ideas can be weighed against each other to determine the best ones. Best ideas can then be applied to the existing system to make essential improvements that will ensure that disputes are solved.

Lessons that Managers and Employers can Learn From NHL Lockout

It is important to ensure that workplace disputes are kept internal. Negotiations should be made between the actual parties that are involved in a dispute, rather than playing out the disputes in the media. Unnecessary money, energy, and time are wasted when the media is involved, as people will be trying to justify why their positions are the correct to the media. Resources are also committed when it comes to disputes that attract intense media coverage. This occurs when the message is revolved to the staff, suppliers, and clients. This results in misunderstandings that create more difficulty in solving the disputes.

It is necessary for managers to consider other options to settle disputes rather than using methods, such as lockouts. A lockout can have severe negative impacts on the relationship with clients, employees, other parties to the dispute, and other businesses. It is therefore important to think of other ways of resolving disputes, such as through mediation, arbitration, or ensure that the dispute is kept out of public records and the media (Lewin, Kaufman & Gollan, 2011).

A manager should examine the dispute’s impact on customers, employees, other businesses, and suppliers. Disputes have negative effects on the employment and marketing brand. All parties that a business is linked to can reevaluate themselves to determine if they want to maintain the relationship with the brand of the business, and they can decide to terminate the relationship. Employees may be impacted negatively if the dispute is not resolved effectively. This can hurt the ability of a business to attract or even retain talents. It is therefore advisable to perform an analysis of the costs and benefits before entering in a major dispute.


Demarco, J. M. (2007). The 2004-05 NHL lockout and its effect on the League’s labor market.

Lewin, D., Kaufman, B. E., & Gollan, P. J. (2011). Advances in industrial and labor relations: Volume 18. Bingley, U.K: Emerald.