NHL will shorten seasons to fit in annual lockouts

The Elbow staff 

The NHL hopes that its 101st season will bring about an exciting lockout. Image source: Prayitno

The NHL hopes that its 101st season will bring about an exciting lockout. Image source: Prayitno

NEW YORK, NY – Starting this year, all NHL seasons will begin with a three month lockout from October to January as part of the league's plan to regulate work stoppages.

Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke at NHL headquarters this morning as he revealed the plan that he hopes will define his legacy.

"Having a lockout every single season is our best chance at keeping fans, owners and the Players' Association equally happy," Bettman said today.

"Since the 2012-13 season, I've had the NHLPA and my owners telling me how much they loved playing a more active and visible role in the running of the league."

Bettman hoped that it would also benefit fans.

"The good news for fans is that this will also give them some certainty going forward. No more 'will there or won't there be a lockout this season?'"

It has not been confirmed exactly how many games will be lost each year, but the early indication is that a template similar to the last lockout-shortened season will be used when coming up with the schedule.

Executive director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr, celebrated the news by praising the league, saying that it was a great opportunity for everyone.

"There are plenty of things that we'll be able to argue over each lockout – Olympics, no trade clauses, no move clauses, TV deals, rule changes," he said. "It's so exciting."

"In the past, we've felt so rushed having to fit everything into the one lockout, but this gives us some real flexibility. We can get more into the nitty gritty of the fun stuff like esgrow and total player payments."

Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, added that this would give the NHL plenty of hills to die on.

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