Not in my experience. If it is a capital intensive (needing lots of machinery, plant space, etc) it can be under 30% easily. Retail would be even less (I just peeked at Rona 2011 financial statements $486M personnel expenses on over $4B in revenue.)
Since we are talking a service industry with NHL I thought I would compare it to the company I do the accounting for now which is mostly service based. The total personnel expense (including benefits) is around 35% of revenues.
It is my personnel opinion that all of that is irrelevant to the NHL situation, however. It is between the league and the PA as to where that should land.
I may be reading this wrong or perhaps I wasn't clear but I'm talking about how much an employer would pay on average for their employees salaries (and everything that comes along with that) as well as how much they spend on their product (and all that comes along with that) 35 percent seems really low to me.