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posted: 9/17/2012 12:01 AM

Blackhawks announce plans during lockout

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On the first full day of the NHL lockout Sunday, the Blackhawks postponed Saturday's training-camp festival.

The event will be rescheduled if there is a training camp, and all tickets will be honored, according to the club.

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The Hawks also sent an email to season-ticket holders outlining their plan for canceled games, if it comes to that.

The email began with, "We would like to thank you for your support as a loyal fan" and added that plan holders may choose a refund or account credit for any canceled games.

Should an agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement between the league and players union be reached, the tickets will be honored as originally issued with Game No. 1 on Oct. 13 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center.

The email went on to say any "refunds for any canceled games will include an additional two percent interest."

Additionally, all references to current players were removed from the team's website.

Both sides had messages for the fans Sunday.

The union's video message featured Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and Penguins star Sidney Crosby among others.

"It's a sad thing when you look at the history of our game and the history of our league and how so often it keeps coming back to the same thing," Toews said.

"I think the goal here, especially from the players' standpoint, is to find something that is fair and reasonable and can instill for years to come where we're not going to have these problems down the road.

"The system that is supposedly broken was designed by NHL owners and the league itself. We did our part in '04-05; the players that were there and lost that season and maybe didn't play another NHL game, had to sacrifice that."

Added Crosby: "The people that suffer the most are the fans."

The owners had a different take.

"Despite the expiration of the collective-bargaining agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the players and to the 30 NHL teams," the league's statement said.

"Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best; and the league has generated remarkable growth and momentum.

"While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the league's economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the players -- as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players' Association seven years ago.

"Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation -- not through rhetoric."

tsassone@dailyherald.com

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