Gretzky: Lockout could last two years
Posted: 3 hours ago
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Wayne Gretzky fears the NHL could be shut down for as long as two years if a labor deal is not reached soon.
Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leading scorer and part owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, said an "even more alarming" scenario could await the league if the lockout is not settled in the next few days.
"I'm scared we could be looking at a year, year-and-a-half, two years, not just three months like a lot of people thought back in September," Gretzky said at a news conference Sunday at the World Junior Championships, where Canada will meet Russia in Tuesday's final.
The NHL board of governors is to meet Jan. 14 in New York. The league rejected a union proposal and its own counteroffer was turned down during a session Dec. 14. No new talks are scheduled.
"From the standpoint of owners, players and fans, everyone is disappointed there is no hockey," Gretzky said.
Since the players are not paid between April and October, Gretzky said there may be little chance of any breakthrough during the summer on a new collective bargaining agreement.
"We're going to be back where we were last Sept. 15th come this Sept. 15th," he said.
Gretzky played in the world juniors for Canada when he was 16.
"I was lucky," he said. "The only reason I made the team is because a couple of older guys got hurt. I was a young kid, and I enjoyed it. I was in awe."