NHL Lockout? No New Agreement In Sight

By Kaylyn Neely

There has been very little news in the American media about a rumored NHL lockout, but over here in Canada, the talk is on. The current collective agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association expires on Sept. 15. If nothing is agreed on by both parties at that time, then the golf/Las Vegas/Montreal/Frat Party in Wisconsin season will be extended for the NHL‘s best.

According to the Canadian paper, the Goble and Mail, The NHL league and the players’ union, the NHLPA, have been meeting for weeks now to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement but little has been accomplished.

Mathieu Schneider, assistant to NHLPA executive director Don Fehr told the Globe and Mail that:

We’ve had guys that are very interested in the retirement benefits. We’ve had guys that are real interested in supplemental discipline … (and) the core economics of the game,” Schneider said. “So I wouldn’t say that one thing is specific to all players. We have a wide range of players and a wide range of interests.

The Toronto based paper also reports:

Benefits have not been updated since the 1990s, while training camp issues include the schedule, player testing and the amount of pre-season games in which veterans would be expected to participate.

However, at present time, the NHL has only addressed one interested: Money.

The initial proposal by Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, is extremely greedy excessively beneficial to the NHL, ensuring a long and drawn out negotiation process. It reportedly includes:

  • Lowering the players’ share of revenues from 57 per cent to 46 per cent
  • Limiting contracts to five years
  • Eliminate signing bonuses
  • Extend low-paying entry-level contracts for a five-year term
  • Abolish salary arbitration
  • Future deals to have to have an equal value for each year (no more frontloading contracts)
The agreement regarding hockey related revenue only came into place one year ago.
The end result of the last NHL lockout was that players took a 24 per cent reduction in revenue. Accepting this proposal, although there is almost no chance that they would, would concluded with another 24 per cent loss by the players.
Fehr stated last week that he believes a counter offer will be put on the table by the NHLPA in approximately two weeks but refused to give Toronto media exact information.
The Players’ Association is currently waiting on more financial information from the NHL.

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