Why is history taught in school? Some argue its because history repeats itself.
With three lockouts during his tenure as NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman has received a lot of criticism, not just from fans, but from players as well.
A dispute over the collective bargaining agreement has been the reason for each of the three lockouts, including the 1994-95 season that was shortened to 48 games.
But it is not just the players who get affected by the work stoppage. Support staff becomes collateral damage.
The Nittany Lions’ equipment manager Adam Sheehan saw the 2004-05 lockout coming after spending the 2003-04 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. That lockout saw the cancellation of the entire 04-05 season. Luckily, Sheehan found another job at Sacred Heart University as its head equipment manager.
The real losers of the lockout are the people who work in the concession stands and trainers. Some NHL teams do not pay their employees during the work stoppage. If it drags out long enough, some of the trainers will get laid off, Sheehan said.
Nittany Lions’ head strength and conditioning coach Robert McLean also spent nine seasons in the NHL, but was not working in the NHL at the time of the 04-05 lockout. Having spent the previous two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, McLean could not have timed the move to Penn State any better.
“It is always a bit of an unsettling time for staff and players,” McLean said. “The relationship between the staff and players is always pretty tight, so you are a little bit torn because obviously your employer is on one side and your friends are on the other.”
The second lockout in less then a decade, has already seen the cancellation of the All-Star Game, the 2013 Winter Classic, and all games this season through Dec. 14.
The day-to-day is a lot of waiting and time spent on the phone talking about how everyone is doing as well as speculation on a possible resolution. The deadlock in talks can be a very tough time in the life of a coach or trainer because the regular paycheck just to try to make ends meet does not come, McLean said.
It particularly gets frustrating because it feels like players often get left in the dark during negotiations.
McLean said that in the end, he ended up siding with the players and still does.
“They are the ones who go out and risk their livelihood every night,” McLean said. “Any night there could be one hit, one concussion that [ends] a player’s career.”
Sheehan sees it another way. Like McLean, Sheehan has kept in touch with players and some of his colleagues from his time with the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes.
“I see both sides of the argument,” the Michigan native said. “I’m not in the room for any of the negotiations so it is hard to say what is going on.”