The Washington Capitals were cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue in 2010-11, according to a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
“We’re told Washington and Nashville are among at least a handful of clubs that have been cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue, with the matter now more likely than not to be decided in arbitration,” Brooks wrote in November 2011.
Asked about that report during his press conference Thursday night, owner Ted Leonsis said: “In 2011 we bought the Verizon Center and the Wizards and the union asked, ‘Could we come in’ – which was their right – and look at the accounting to make sure that the accounting was proper. And they did their accounting and they said the accounting was proper. End of story. That was it.”
The Capitals did permit access to their books, but the rest of the explanation was not exactly what happened. The NHL Players’ Association did dispute some of the reporting practices during that 2010-11 season.
It began with Leonsis purchasing the NBA’s Wizards and Verizon Center, an event that gave the NHLPA the ability to check into the Caps’ accounting practices for the first time under the collective bargaining agreement that went into effect during the 2005-06 season.
What the NHLPA found some discrepancies in 2010-11 and looked deeper into the books. But it decided against filing a formal grievance that would have taken the case to an arbitrator.
As Brooks first reported, there were disputes with the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators, too. The three situations were lumped together and the NHL and NHLPA reached a settlement on all three at the same time. That occurred this past summer on the eve of the start of collective bargaining talks.
The issue was settled and is no longer a problem. But it was not as simple as the union giving a thumbs up once it looked at the accounting.