The Winnipeg Jets publicly acknowledged the potential of a league-wide work stoppage on Thursday, sending a message to their stakeholders, partners and season ticket holders to be prepared for possible cancellations of games and team events.
"As you may be aware from recent reports in the media, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association are currently engaged in the process of negotiating a successor Collective Bargaining Agreement to their current Agreement, which expires Saturday, September 15th, 2012," read a team email from True North president and CEO Jim Ludlow and senior vice president of sales and marketing Norva Riddell.
"Although it is the League's objective to successfully conclude negotiations for the new Agreement by September 15th, it is possible this may not occur."
NHL labour talks remain in recess five days after negotiations broke down, and 10 days before the league has threatened to lock out its players.
There has been no word from either the NHL or the NHL Players' Association as to when negotiations will resume. The current deal is set to expire Sept. 15.
"In the event a new Agreement is not reached in this timeframe, and a work stoppage ensues, the Winnipeg Jets' training camp could be postponed, and there is the potential for preseason and regular season games to be cancelled," read the statement.
"The purpose of this letter is therefore threefold: (1) to ensure you are aware of the possibility of this occurring, (2) to advise you that we have developed contingency plans including policies and procedures in the event of game cancellations and, (3) to advise you that we will communicate these contingency plans to you immediately upon being advised by the League that a work stoppage has formally commenced.
"It remains our hope, as well as that of the League and all those involved, that agreement on the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be reached in short order..."
NHL hockey returned to Winnipeg last season for the first time since 1996 after the Atlanta Thrashers franchise relocated to Manitoba and as renamed the Winnipeg Jets.