On Wednesday, Roman Hamrlik voiced his displeasure with the direction of the NHL collective bargaining agreement negotiations by lashing out at NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
The Globe and Mail reports that while Hamrlik isn’t retracting what he said Wednesday, he will support whatever the players decide.
“This is nothing against any of the players,” Hamrlik said in an interview. “I stand with them. We are all together in this. And we want a great deal. A fair deal. Everybody’s losing in this right now. Owners, players, fans. The fans are the reason for hockey.”
The 38-year-old NHL veteran, in the midst of his third lockout, has lost many games over his career due to labour disputes.
“Some cities won’t be able to recover their fans for future seasons. I just want to say I’ve been in the league for 20 years and faced three lockouts and there’s only 14 other guys that have done that,” Hamrlik told the Globe and Mail.
Hamrlik’s comments on Wednesday made headlines and also sparked negative reaction from his fellow players.
“I am disgusted,” Hamrlik is quoted in the interview with Daily Sport, his comments translated by TV Nova Sport’s Roman Hedlicka. “I do not think that we will achieve a better deal.
“We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost a quarter of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr? There should be voting between players. Four questions – yes or no – then count it. If half of players say let’s play, then they should sign new CBA. If there is no season, he should leave and we will find someone new. Time is our enemy.”
One of the negative reactions towards Hamrlik’s comments was from veteran Erik Cole.
“For him to come out and say this, it’s the most selfish thing I’ve heard during the lockout. Without a doubt. It’s just disappointing. You’d think the veteran guys are the guys who’d take more pride in what other veteran guys sacrificed in the last lockout, how we all benefited from that as a group. Some guys never played again.”
Hamrlik isn’t fazed by the negative reaction; he wants a chance to win the Stanley Cup before his inevitable retirement from the game.
“I believe I’ve earned the right to say what I think. If someone thinks I’m selfish, I may be, but it’s selfish to play hockey. Like everybody else, I want to win the Cup with the Capitals, or at least have a chance.”
The NHL has lost 268 regular-season games as the lockout is in its 68th day.