REPORT: NLL WON'T CHANGE MIND
Reports on announcement of season cancellation
Canada's CanWest news service reported on the cancellation of the 2008 NLL season on Tuesday.
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The National Lacrosse League cancelled its 2008 season Tuesday, with no hopes of a late reprieve.
Calling it a "very dark day," NLL commissioner Jim Jennings announced Tuesday that the Professional Lacrosse Players Association's executive committee has rejected the league's last contract proposal, and the 14-league team will be mothballed until the 2009 season.
"It's not a good thing, but it would have been more harmful to continue playing if we would have adopted their proposals," Jennings said Tuesday in a conference call.
"Our franchises would be out of business in a few years, possibly. We've got teams already, in a lot of those U.S. markets ... like Phoenix, San Jose and Portland, Ore., where the sport is playing there and they are experiencing financial losses.
"And that's with the proposal that we have under the current system. For us to shift to what they were suggesting would have accelerated those losses."
Talks between the league and the players' association on a new collective agreement broke down Sunday, and the league had set a deadline for midnight ET Monday, saying if a new agreement isn't reached, the 2008 season would be cancelled.
The league, which includes three Canadian franchises - the Toronto Rock, Edmonton Rush and Calgary Roughnecks, was slated to open on Dec. 27.
Jennings said there will be no eleventh-hour decision to save the season, which is something the players have to realize, especially after team owners were instructed Tuesday morning to release holds on facilities.
"There's no hope due to the fact that we've released our dates. It's very difficult to get dates in places like (New York's) Madison Square Garden and (Toronto's) ACC Centre and places like that.
"To try to restart this thing up on a moment's notice is an impossibility."
The president of the players' association, Peter Schmitz, couldn't be reached for comment.
The NLL's deputy commissioner, George Daniel, said that the union wanted to remove the cap on individual player salaries.
"We've been able to grow in a slow and steady way for a number of years," said Daniel. "Their proposals, which we didn't get until a few weeks ago, wanted to lift those limits, and basically have an uncapped system."