NHL, Player’s Union Negotiations Stalled

By Krista Golden

Talks between the NHL and the union representing its players have ground to a halt.

The league and the NHLPA met for nearly two hours on Friday to discuss the union’s answer to the league’s new proposal, which was given to NHLPA director Donald Fehr during his meeting with league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday. Both sides left Friday’s meeting without making plans for any meetings in the near future.

“What I thought was starting as a promising week after we made our substantial counter-proposal on Tuesday, ends I guess you could say in disappointment,” Bettman said. “We did not get a proposal from the union. I call it more of a response.”

Under the league’s new offer, hockey-related revenue would be cut to 46 percent, a slight raise from their original offer of 43 percent. Their proposed salary cap would be at 58 million, which would put 16 teams – half the league – over the cap. Their new proposal is also for six years.

The union’s counter was to work out an alternative to the fourth year of their initial proposal, which would’ve fallen back to the current agreement.

“We proposed several concepts for the fourth year that would allow the fourth year to be something less than 57 per cent of revenues,” Fehr said. “The suggestion was that if we could get over the fourth year and their objection to the 57-per-cent snapback that would give us an opportunity to move forward. Unfortunately, so far at least, that proposal we made today did not bear fruit.”

Bettman also dismissed the notion that broader revenue sharing, proposed by the players to ease the financial burdens of smaller markets, was an important component to the new agreement. “As we’ve made clear you’ve got to deal with the fundamental economics…we don’t believe revenue sharing addresses the issues that need to be addressed.”

Both Bettman and Fehr have stated separately that they are willing to meet again if the other side comes forward to talk. Meanwhile, Fehr said that the NHLPA will remain in New York City, where they will have meetings with the players on September 12 and 13.

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