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

Here are some of the longest strikes in American professional sports.

ByABC News
January 7, 2013, 1:00 PM

Jan. 7, 2013 — -- intro:

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:

quicklist:category: 50 daysmedia: 18150918title: 1981 Major League Baseball Striketext:

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.

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quicklist:category: 57 days media: 18150929title: 1982 National Football League Strike text: 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.

quicklist:category: 24 daysmedia: 18150880title: 1987 National Football League Striketext: 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.

quicklist:category: 104 daysmedia: 18150896title: 1994 National Hockey League Striketext:

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.

quicklist:category: 232 days media: 18150939title: 1994 Major League Baseball Striketext:

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.

quicklist:category: 204 daysmedia: 18150870title: 1998 National Basketball Association Strike text:

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.

quicklist:category: 310 days media: 18150859 title: 2004 National Hockey League Strike text: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.