2. 2004 NHL Lockout
Duration: Sept. 16, 2004 - July 22, 2005 (310 days)
Effect on the Season: The NHL became the first major North American sports league to cancel a whole season over a labor dispute. For the first time since 1919, the Stanley Cup was not awarded at the end of the season. The league sought cost certainty, attempting to link players’ salaries to league revenues.
Result: A salary cap was instituted, to be adjusted annually to guarantee players 54 percent of NHL revenues. A salary floor was also implemented, and player contracts were to be guaranteed. Revenue sharing and two-way salary arbitration were ushered in.
Fallout: While financial details are often lost on the public, rule changes are not. In an attempt to win back disaffected fans, the league introduced new rules to encourage a faster, higher-scoring game. The most visible was the introduction of the shootout. And impediments against offensive players, such as hooking and interference, were penalized more strictly. A new TV contract was signed, moving to Versus and securing more frequent coverage.