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09-25-2003, 03:18 PM
David A. Rainer
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Originally Posted by thinkwild
The relevant market to the owners bottom line may well be the entire disposable income of beer drinking males distributed amongst many entertainment sources, however, Vancouver and Ottawa arent really competing for the same gate receipts, and its unlikely many hockey players that determined they were being unfairly paid could then try their luck in the NBA, NFL, or MLB.

The competition in this case is for hockey player salaries, and the potential employers are all the teams in the NHL. Just combining as a single entity to get around this couldnt possibly get by the courts, if it could even get by the current owners lawyers. I agree with discostu here, it would take years. Both sides would lose a lot. This is one reason I dont believe they actually cant negotiate a compromise.
True, Vancouver and Ottawa aren't competing for gate receipts. But the Isles, Rangers, and Devils are. Or LA and Anaheim, etc.

And hockey players don't need to try their luck in the NBA, NFL, or MLB. They can, however, go to the WHA or Europe or something else. There are other alternatives.

Also, the courts are not concerned with the intent of the parties when merging - they are concerned with what is the result of the merge itself. There is no restriction of competition whether the NHL is 30 entities or 1 entity as stardardized contracts and the CBA have largely eliminated the competition between the member franchises for everything but salaries. And even if the NHL is 1 entity, there is still the same amount of competition between teams for players' services. Now, ultimately a merger will result in some extra self-restraints on the owners that are not included in the CBA. But then that is something that is absolutely perfectly legal if the NHL was formed as a single entity in the first place. As stated in a prior post, barring the league from changing from 30 franchises to 1 franchise solely because the feds don't want them to restrain themselves in a way that otherwise would be perfectly legal brings in Equal Protection implications.

But I've been saying from the start that it is not something that is easy to do and will likely never happen. I don't think the feds would allow the NHL to merge into on 1 entity. However, I do think the NHL can divest it's member franchises, close shop, and reform as one entity. But that would take to much and would probably cause more problems than solve.

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