MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers and the rest of the National Hockey League should be getting ready to start their preseason schedule. Instead, the owner-imposed lockout has now cost the league its entire preseason.

The NHL announced Wednesday that the remainder of the club’s preseason games have been cancelled. The cancellation of the schedule was “necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL,” the Panthers said.

The players are saying they aren’t going to give in to a massive roll back in salaries again, which is part of what the league is asking for, despite record revenues. The NHL can ill-afford another season-long lockout. It’s never fully recovered in the eyes of the average sports fan from the lost 2004-05 season.

The core issue is how to split the record $3.3 billion in revenue. The owners want to decrease the percentage of hockey-related revenue that goes to players from 57 percent to between 43-47 percent. The union wants a guarantee that players will get at least the $1.8 billion paid out in salaries last season.

If that sounds familiar, it’s almost the exact same argument that cost the NBA part of its season last year during the NBA lockout.

The Florida Panthers are giving season ticket holders a few options. They can earn credits or cash toward future purchases, as well as getting a refund if they wish. The team said refunds will be given only for games that are canceled and not rescheduled. As of now, no preseason games have been canceled yet.

Also at stake for the league are several key dates including the New Year’s Day outdoor Winter Classic set to be held at the 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium next year. The January 27 All-Star game set to be hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets could also be in jeopardy depending on the length of the lockout.

The NHL has lost nearly 1,700 games to work stoppages since 1992.


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