MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lou Nanne thinks the lock out could have been avoided if only the sides would have started negotiating earlier. He said he believes the Players Association could have started earlier.
“I remember being at a dinner with all of them in January and I asked Gary Bettman if they’d started talks yet and he said, ‘We’re ready but we are waiting for them to come,'” Nanne said. “I think it’s just (NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr’s) way of operating. He likes to leave things ’til the end, and sort of have pressure at the end, maybe have a way of making a deal.”
Nanne said he thinks they should be able to end the lockout quickly.
“The reason I say that is because the National Football League and the National Basketball League, which both have a lot more revenue than hockey, have agreed to a 50-50 settlement,” he said.
Nanne believes that’s where this labor dispute is going to end up. He said he thinks it’s a huge deal for the Minnesota Wild and its fans.
“I say that because there was so much enthusiasm in the off season moves that Chuck Fletcher made, and people are very excited about seeing the team, and then you get this stoppage, and it sort of leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” he said.
Nanne believes the fans will come back and that they all want to see hockey. He called hockey fans the most passionate of all.
“Even after the lockout ends, they won’t stay away,” he said.
The Minnesota Wild said they appreciate the continued support of fans, as they work through the challenges caused by the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
Season ticket holders will get more information on Monday as to what happens with their accounts.