Roenick says players will make less under new deal

Updated: July 13, 2005, 7:55 PM ET
Associated Press

RENO, Nev. -- Philadelphia Flyers center Jeremy Roenick said Wednesday that he's glad the NHL lockout is finally coming to an end even though the owners got the best deal and players will make less money.

Jeremy Roenick

"To be totally honest, I really don't care what the deal is anymore. All I care about is getting the game back on the ice," Roenick told The Associated Press by telephone.

"Unfortunately, it had to take a whole year to get to a point where we could have been last year. I'm just happy the deal is signed and we can get on with the game," he said.

Roenick heard about the settlement while playing a practice round at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at nearby Stateline at Lake Tahoe.

"It is not a good deal for the players. We are going to make a lot less money. But if it is going to make it more efficient for the owners to make money and for us to make the game better, then it is a good thing," Roenick said of the "owner-friendly deal."

"For the last 10 years, the players have made a lot of money and now we are in a position where everybody is going to make money," he said.

Both sides still need to ratify the deal, a pact that is expected to contain a salary cap -- something players' association executive director Bob Goodenow opposed. That process is expected to be completed next week, the league and the union said in a joint statement.

If all goes according to plan, a scaled-down draft is expected to be held later this month, training camps would open in September and NHL games would be back on the schedule come October.

The expected salary cap will likely have a ceiling approaching $40 million and a minimum from $20 million to $25 million. Player salaries will not exceed 54 percent of league-wide revenues.

Roenick said he didn't think the settlement hinged on any particular proposal, but was made to avoid losing any more hockey games after a lockout wiped out last season.

"I think the players realized we weren't going to get what we thought we were going to get," he said.

"I think that says a lot for the National Hockey League players, to give more than any other organization has given in pro sports to come to an agreement and get back on the ice."

Roenick stirred controversy last month when he responded to hockey fans who blame the NHL lockout on players' greed.

"We're going to try to make it better for everybody, period, end of subject. And if you don't realize that, then don't come," he said in June at the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational in suburban Pittsburgh.

"We don't want you at the rink, we don't want you in the stadium, we don't want you to watch hockey," he said at the time.

Roenick said Wednesday that he expects the game will change and "get better" as a result of the settlement.

"But the marketing and the way we go about it has got to be addressed," he said.

"If it is not addressed by the owners, if we don't realize we have a golden opportunity to make the game better for the fans and if they don't make it better for the fans and more affordable and a more exciting game, then shame on everybody."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press