National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman has announced that the league will bypass negotiations with the players’ union and bring in replacement players to begin the 2012-13 NHL season on time.
“Hockey fans are feeble-minded creatures who won’t know the difference,” Bettman told reporters. “That’s why they’re the greatest fans in the world.”
Among the replacement players will be retired ECHL players, players from the Ontario Steelworkers Union beer league, and four Mexican wrestlers who will wear capes.
Bettman also announced that there will be several rule changes to accommodate the new players. Among the changes is that games will be played 3-on3 in order to deal with the lower number of players.
“It will also provide a wider-open style,” Bettman said. “And when the third period comes along, we might go 2-on-2 or even 1-on1 because the players will be tired by then and might need a rest.”
Instead of overtimes or shoot-outs to decide games tied at the end of regulation, Bettman says that fans will be able to decide the final outcomes.
“Fan participation is the cornerstone of any successful sports league,” Bettman said. “So at the end of regulation, fans will be invited to come down on the ice and play the game amongst themselves. It’s fun for the fans and it means we don’t have to pay the players more since they’re paid by the hour.”
Ticket prices will also see a substantial increase, ranging from 20 percent to 200 percent more expensive than the previous season.
“Toronto fans will be paying 200 percent more,” Bettman said. “All the tickets are usually bought up by big corporations who write them off their taxes, anyways. So we’re actually ‘sticking it to the man’ by raising prices.”
NHLPA president Donald Fehr indicated he would not let the NHL’s announcement interfere with negotiations.
“I look forward to being named as union boss to the replacement players and helping them get another season cancelled, too,” said Fehr, who once served as the head of Major League Baseball players’ union during the 1994-95 strike. “That’s what I do. To be honest, I don’t even like sports. They should just cancel all of them. Forever.”