But in fact as is obvious from the publishing dates of these quotes all three

But in fact as is obvious from the publishing dates

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But in fact, as is obvious from the publishing dates of these quotes, all three authors purport to analyze the impact of the collective agreement signed following the previous NHL lock-out, that of 1994-1995. As the above quotes show, and as Staudohar (2005, p. 24) reports, “the owners appeared to get much the better of the settlement, which was reported in the media as a solid victory on their part”. Most experts initially thought that the 1995 agreement had put in place structures that would abate salary inflation in the NHL, by twisting bargaining power towards the owners and out of the hands of the players’ agents. Indeed, still persuaded that the 1995 deal was a good one, the NHL owners decided to renew the agreement a few years later, when they could have asked for a new one. But by 2004, when it was clear to all that the NHL owners and players were up for a major clash and a long dispute, all hockey experts were claiming that the 1995 collective agreement had been a clear win for the players, bringing NHL owners collectively on the brink of bankruptcy, and that something entirely new was needed. But this new financial arrangement could not just be imposed upon players, as it would be in a firm deprived of a labour union. It had to be negotiated through collective bargaining. Collective bargaining agreements In the North American major leagues, the relations between owners and players are regulated by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which is freely negotiated between representatives of the employer (the league commissioner) and the employees (the players’ union). There is some irony about industrial relations in sports. In other industries, capitalists usually advocate free markets without restrictions and rigidities, arguing that unrestricted competition and flexible labour markets will bring about the best of possible worlds, while employees ask for protection against the consequences of free markets. In sports, where often owners are billionnaires while their player employees are millionnaires, players’ unions ask that salaries be freely determined and that players be free to move from one team to another; team owners, by contrast, propose revenue sharing and argue that all sorts of impediments on labour movements and salary 5
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determination should be imposed, for the sake of the sport. This has given rise in the past to the perpetual reserve clause, whereby a player was forever forbidden to change teams without being traded by the owner, a clause which was successfully challenged in court, forcing team owners to negotiate CBAs with temporary reserve clauses (Barnes, 1996). With current rules, only a subset of players are bona fide unrestricted free agents, being able to move freely from one team to another; most players are restricted free agents, that is they can move to some other team but only at the end of their standard-length contract, and only if that other team pays some hefty penalty – up to five first-round draft choices. Other league rules
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