Salary cap checks NHL teams into icy situation

by Jillian Dzieciol

Hockey is something that shapes the way athletes are, and grow as people and their team mates become like family, you can’t put a price on that, so why have a salary cap?

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Hockey is an action-packed sport that includes high speed skating, skillful stick handling, strength, and chemistry. It’s a sport that’s a big component of Canadian culture, but is extremely successful in the American market as well.

The NHL has a hard salary cap, meaning that every team has a set amount of money that they aren’t allowed to exceed spending. Many sports analysts argue that the salary cap is essential because without some teams could monopolize all of the most talented players in the league.

The commissioner fears that certain teams would get a substantially larger amount of money to spend if there was no cap in place, for example, the Los Angeles Kings since their location is one of the highest grossing in the US.

However, with the salary cap many fan favorites and core players have become free agents or traded away to a new team, and with that comes a new environment and new temptations, which can be any athlete’s worst nightmare.

Rookies become accustomed to playing for their team and they have team mates that they form bonds with and they get advice from, trading them away to another team due to a salary cap can be detrimental to their career.

When talented athletes become free agents and then fail to get picked up by another team, their career can be over.

If that athlete is a fan favorite then their fans may stop watching the NHL games, which can decrease the profit that the league makes. If too many fan favorites become free agents then the NHL can become in danger of going out of business for good.

Many hard decisions have been made, especially by the Chicago Blackhawks. Center Andrew Shaw was traded to the Montreal Canadians in in June 2016. The Hawks really didn’t want to see him go because he was a fan favorite and he did the dirty work on the ice, and he was always a great net front presence.

“It was a tough decision to make. We love Andrew and everything he’s brought to the Blackhawks he’s been a dependable hockey player and a warrior for us. It was a tough decision were trying to make things the best that we can with the salary cap” Blackhawks Gm Stan Bowman said in a televised interview.

These are decisions that should be made based on talent, not a set amount of money.

Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that the American dollar and Canadian dollar do not hold the same value. When the value of the Canadian dollar decreased, the salary cap mirrored that, hitting all the NHL teams hard.

Teams use strategy to win. Checking, speed, talent, and endurance. A salary cap shouldn’t be part of the way a team has to strategize.

Jillian Dzieciol

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