A new poll by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) suggests Canadians tend to prefer watching the highlights of the best-loved hockey games, but a different poll of NHL players suggests Canadians are more likely to tune in to watch the games that go horribly wrong.
The CBC poll, released Monday, asked 1,000 Canadian adults how they felt about the league’s top 10 games, and it found more than 60 per cent of respondents felt the best teams were in the top 10, while 42 per cent felt the worst teams were.
The findings, which came in a survey that included more than 4,500 players and teams, come as the NHL’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, and the league and its players’ union are engaged in a heated battle over a proposed $1.2-billion wage cut for players and staff, a proposal that has drawn sharp criticism from the players’ association.
In a letter to the league last week, Bettman said the proposal would mean players will be paid less than $1,200 per week.
That’s well below the league average, which is $2,900.
In the past, the NHL has made significant cuts in pay and benefits to bring down the cost of playing the game.
But it has also been accused of being a captive market for television ratings, with TV ratings in Canada falling by 12 per cent last season to an average of just over 12 million viewers.
The Canadian Football League has also come under fire for its controversial salary cap, which has pushed many players and owners to make tough decisions.
The CFL also has faced scrutiny over its concussion protocols.
The NHL and the union are now negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that would include significant changes to the salary cap.
The proposed changes are expected to be included in the league-wide collective bargaining agreements that will be announced at the end of the month.
The two sides are also negotiating the terms of a new TV contract, which will also include new TV revenues.
The union also said it is looking at making the salary-cap reduction even more significant by eliminating the automatic $4 million bonus for winning the Stanley Cup.