Player vote won't back salary cap: Ference
RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA
CALGARY -- Andrew Ference has a retort for all those people who
believe the next proposal offered by the league should go to a vote
among the players. Guess again.
Ference, a definite moderate among the National Hockey League Players
Association, says the skaters wouldn't agree - even if it was through
a secret ballot - to a salary cap.
"I see those numbers, half the guys would vote for a cap, and I don't
believe that, not for a moment,"he said.
"The guys in our executive are there for a reason and they're in a
very, very tough situation, but we have to trust them."
Both the players and owners have barely commented on negotiations for
a week now, and Bill Daly, the NHL's vice-president and chief legal
council, said no meetings are scheduled.
Ference, who's currently playing alongside fellow Flame Roman Turek
for Budejovice of the Czech Republic's first division, is a vocal
member among the players and always willing to question their
Still, you can count him among those who believe a cap-based system -
cost-certainty to the NHL owners - will bring about the perils of
what's used by the NFL, which includes non-guaranteed contracts, and
will spell the end of arbitration rights. "The players in football,
how can you not feel like a piece of meat?" Ference said.
"The reason you go all-out for a team, like we did with the Flames,
is because the team respects you. You're not just a piece of meat.
Being treated with respect means a whole lot to an athlete."
Former all-star Denis Potvin, who now does colour commentating work
for the Florida Panthers, told MSG Network's Stan Fischler the
players would accept a deal if it went to a vote. TSN analyst Pierre
McGuire said he figured 70% of the players would vote for a deal,
even if it included cost-certainty.