After a nearly 16-hour bargaining session in New York, the NHL and the players union finally reached an agreement early Sunday morning to end the 113-day lockout. The NHLPA and league reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year CBA that should be ratified by Tuesday. With hockey fans everywhere rejoicing, NBC10’s John Clark got the chance to speak with Philadelphia Flyers chairman Ed Snider. Excited and relieved with this morning’s news which happened to come on his 80th birthday, Snider spoke on his expectations for the team as well as whether he believes the Flyers' diehard fans will be back in full force this year.
John Clark: What was it like waking up on your birthday and finding out that hockey is back?
Ed Snider: It’s really strange. I’m not really a very early riser. I got up at five in the morning and I turned on my phone out of habit and got the message from the league. I was flabbergasted.
John Clark: In the end do you think all of this was worth it based on what the deal is?
Ed Snider: I don’t want to look back at anything. We’ve got a deal now. I’m just thrilled and thrilled for our fans. I’m thrilled for our players. I’m thrilled for everybody involved in hockey. All the people that have been hurting, I’ve felt terrible for them. We look at it and we try to think in terms of the league in general just like the players look at it and try to look at the players in general. There are some things that have to be done that may not be something that we would necessarily care about. But there are a lot of teams that are hurting. We want the league to be strong and I know the players want the player’s association to be strong. You get into these situations and it’s very, very unfortunate. But I’m just thrilled that it’s behind us. I hope we don’t reopen it in eight years. I want it to last ten years because I don’t want to go through this again.
John Clark: Do you think that Flyers fans will be back in full force like they were in year’s past?
Ed Snider: I don’t like to make predictions like that. I know that everybody was upset and I’m certainly hoping they’ll be back. I know that we had very few cancellations. I just think we have the greatest fans in the world and I kind of think that they’re all going to come back but I hope I don’t end up with egg on my face. If any of the fans out there are thinking of not coming back please understand that nobody wanted this. We’re just happy it’s over and we think it’s going to make the league stronger in the long run. Come on and see the Flyers because I can’t personally wait.
John Clark: With a 48 or 50 game schedule and the type of team that you have with a few older and banged up guys, do you think that this team can be set up for the playoffs considering the way this shortened season will be.
Ed Snider: Absolutely. You talk about some of the players that are banged up but I think every team has that situation. More importantly, we have a very young team now with a lot of young stars. I think that we’re in very good shape.