The NHL Strike and 7 of the Worst Labor Disputes in Pro Sports

PHOTO: Acting Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, left, and Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 22, 1994, before the House subcommittee on Economic and Com
Joe Marquette/AP Photo

Though the National Hockey League has announced a tentative agreement to end the lockout that has cost NHL fans almost half the 2012-2013 season, fans may need some time to warm to the 50 or so games that are expected to begin in the next two weeks.

Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL since 1993, has seen his fair share of disputes. While this lockout lasted 113 days with 510 missed games, the worst was in the 2004-2005 season which lasted 310 days, causing 1,230 missed games, or the entire season.

Read more: 5 Strikes that Shut Down Companies (Or Almost Did)

Here are 7 other major strikes that sports fans have blocked out of their memories:

50 days

PHOTO: Newsmen engulf New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, second from left, as he arrives to attend a meeting of major league owners in New York City, July 9, 1981.
Ray Stubblebine/AP Photo
1981 Major League Baseball Strike

MLB's fourth strike in 1981 lasted 50 days involving a dispute over free agency between owners and players. In the end, owners lost the right to be compensated for the loss of free agents but won the right to keep players for six years and to be compensated with other players and draft amateurs, Sports Illustrated said.

57 days

PHOTO: Negotiations in the National Football League players strike resumed on Oct. 30, 1982 in New York with player representatives, from left to right, Gene Upshaw, Dick Bertelsen, Stan White and Tom Condon, joining owner representative Jack Donlan, Ed G
Mario Suriani/AP Photo
1982 National Football League Strike

From Sept. 20 until Nov. 21, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) went on strike demanding free agency, a 55 percent share of broadcast revenue, and a pay scale to make it more difficult for franchises to release older players, ESPN's Len Pasquarelli recalls.

"After 57 days, and a lot of players griping about getting back to work, the NFLPA accepted a one-time, $60 million payment to return to work, along with a system that upgraded minimum salaries and provided enhanced benefits for players," he wrote.

24 days

PHOTO: Members of the Los Angeles Raiders stand in a picket line during the NFL Players Union Strike in September 1987.
Mike Powell/Getty Images
1987 National Football League Strike

While the cause of the 1987 strike was similar to the preceding dispute over free agency, this time the owners decided to use replacement players in "scab" games.

"And if you were absolutely desperate for football, and had a strong stomach, the 'scab games' did offer some entertaining moments, usually determined by how many players for each franchise crossed the picket lines," Pasquarelli said.

104 days

PHOTO: NHL Senior VP and Director of Hockey Operations Brian Burke and NHL Senior VP and General Counsel Jeffrey Pash speak during lockout negotiations in New York on Jan. 7, 1995.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
1994 National Hockey League Strike

Only the second strike in NHL history, the 1994 lockout came after a two-year bargaining agreement from 1992, the year of the first strike, ended. The NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association came to a six-year agreement, announced on Jan. 11, 1995. There were 468 missed games during the 104-day strike.

232 days

PHOTO: Acting Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, left, and Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 22, 1994, before the House subcommittee on Economic and Com
Joe Marquette/AP Photo
1994 Major League Baseball Strike

The 1994 MLB strike was so bad that it canceled the World Series for the first time in 90 years. The strike began on Aug. 11, 1994. The players and owners made an agreement on March 31, 1995, but games didn't begin again until April 25. Meanwhile, about 940 games were lost.

204 days

PHOTO: New York Knicks' center Patrick Ewing, representing the players union, enters a bargaining session with the National Basketball Association Nov. 20, 1998 at a New York hotel.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
1998 National Basketball Association Strike

An NBA strike that began on June 30, 1998, lasted 204 days, leading to a loss of 32 games. After months of negotiations, an agreement was reached on Jan. 6, 1999 that resulted in a new collective bargaining agreement before the league's deadline that would have canceled the season.

310 days

PHOTO: Gary Bettman, National Hockey League Commissioner speaks during a press conference Sept. 15, 2004 in New York City.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
2004 National Hockey League Strike

The 2004-2005 NHL lockout was the worst of the league's four work stoppages in its 95-year history.

Commissioner Bettman imposed a lockout on Sept. 16, 2004, which lasted for 310 days and 1,230 missed games.

It was the longest lockout of any professional sport.

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