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The 1994–95 NHL lockout was a lockout that came after a year of National Hockey League (NHL) hockey that was played without a collective bargaining agreement.

The lockout caused the 1994–95 season to be shortened to 48 games.


This three-month, one week and three-day lockout stretched from October 1, 1994 to January 11, 1995.

A total of 468 games were lost due to the lockout along with the All-Star Game. Much like the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the big issue was the implementation of a salary cap.

The NHL owners were strongly in favor of the cap while the players were opposed to it.


Going into the negotiations both the players and the owners agreed on one big issue, the small market franchises.

The league wanted to tie salaries to revenue in order to subsidize the operation of weaker teams while the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) sought revenue sharing to help the smaller market teams.

However, large market teams such as Toronto, Detroit, the New York Rangers, Dallas and Philadelphia eventually broke with the league, as they feared that an extended lockout would outweigh the benefits from getting a salary cap.

The 4-On-4 Challenge[]

While some NHL players decided to play in various European leagues, others decided to remain in North America. Around that time, the "4-on-4 Challenge" (i.e. four players and a goalie on the ice) was initiated.

This NHLPA organized tournament was played over the course of three days from the 10th to the 12th of November of 1994 during the owners' lockout of 1994-95. All the games were played in Hamilton Canada's Copps Coliseum.

In the end, Team Ontario defeated Team USA, Team Western Canada and Team Quebec to win the tournament which raised more than half a million dollars to support the Ronald McDonald Children's Charities of Canada and minor hockey associations throughout North America.

Many NHL superstars (notably Patrick Roy, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Joe Sakic, Doug Gilmour, Rob Blake and Mike Richter) took part in this competition. Also in the meantime, Wayne Gretzky and some friends formed the Ninety Nine All Stars Tour and played some exhibition games in various countries.

End of Lockout[]

The lockout ended on January 11, 1995. As a result, the league shortened the season length from 84 games, the length of the previous two seasons, to 48. Furthermore, the season would last from January 20 to May 3, 1995. this was the first and only time in NHL history that the regular season extended into May.

Regular-season games would be limited to intra-conference play (Eastern Conference teams did not play Western Conference teams).

During the lockout, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to shorten future seasons to 82 games. San Jose (which was to host the All-Star game that year) was awarded the 1997 game instead.

The lockout would eventually lead to two Canadian teams moving to the United States.

The Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver in the summer of 1995 and became the Colorado Avalanche and the original Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 1996.

The Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997. The Avalanche and the Hurricanes would win the Stanley Cup within the next decade.

Eventually there was another lockout in 2004–05 which resulted in that season being canceled.

On September 16, 2012, another lockout started, but it ended on January 6, 2013.

The salary cap for rookies was instituted and all players signing rookie contract needed to sign two-way contracts.