Published on September 5th, 2012 | by James Conley0
NHL, NHLPA Labor Talks Hit Wall, Lockout Looms
Friday, August 31 marks the last time the NHL and NHL Players’ Association met to discuss the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. Talks have since broken off after a meeting which NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described as a “disappointment.”
With less than two weeks to go until the scheduled start of training camps, there seems to be little promise of the season beginning on time.
“In the last 24 hours, at least four agents have said that the players don’t view Sept.15 to be the real deadline. The real deadline is Oct. 11,” Bettman said. “Not sure why they’re saying that. Once we get past Sept. 14, I think the dynamic changes. The damage to the business changes the dynamic of the negotiation and so from our standpoint we’re hoping they can view it as Sept. 15.”
The source of the stalemate at the last meeting comes from the NHLPA’s stance that it will not accept significant salary reductions in light of record league revenues ($3.3 billion in 2011-12) and after the severe concessions made following the 2004-05 lockout.
“The response that was made to us was that if the players are not prepared to make an automatic reset on their aggregate salary levels — that is to say, as we understand it, a meaningful, absolute reduction in dollar terms for next year as compared to last year — that they see no point in discussing or responding to the proposals we put forward at the meeting today,” NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said.
“We will not be discussing these issues again until there’s an indication from the NHL that they are prepared to do so.”
Though there are few who don’t anticipate a lockout of some kind, the two sides had made decent progress in the weeks prior to the stalemate. However, both parties have been unable to reach common ground on issues such as players’ percentage of hockey-related revenue, which sets the annual salary cap ceiling, as well as the incomes which define hockey-related revenue.
A return to the negotiating table has yet to be announced.