NEWARK—Saying that a delayed or cancelled season would have a major economic affect on Newark, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called on National Hockey League (NHL) owners and players to reach an agreement to allow games to go forward.
In a letter to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players’ Association Executive Director Donald Fehr, the Senators expressed concern that a locked out season would severely impact New Jersey’s workers and businesses, particularly in Newark—home to the New Jersey Devils.
The NHL cancelled its slate of preseason games last week; the New Jersey Devils’ first home scrimmage was scheduled to be played this Friday, Oct. 5.
“A delayed or canceled regular season would be a major setback for Newark. It could mean millions of dollars in lost economic activity, and more people out of work when our state unemployment rate is already at a 30-year high,” the Senators wrote. “As you consider your next steps, we encourage you to keep in mind the communities, workers, and families that would be hurt by a further disruption in the season.”
The Senators continued, “Businesses, workers and hockey fans played no role in causing this dispute, and it is unfair for them to have to bear this burden. The Senate has jurisdiction over interstate commercial activities, including professional sports, and will keep a close eye on your negotiations with hope that you will work diligently and quickly to resolve this matter.”