Players’ association tables proposal as negotiations resume with NHL
NEW YORK — Donald Fehr believes the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are only $182-million apart in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.
After making a new proposal on Wednesday morning, the NHLPA’s executive director expressed hope that it might lead to a new deal.
“It was comprehensive,” said Fehr. “It’s an effort, about as good as we can do, to try and see if there’s an agreement that can be reached.”
The union proposed a 50-50 split of revenues during the five-year deal along with $393-million in make whole payments, according to a source. Two weeks ago, the league offered $211-million and a 50-50 split.
The offer also includes a clause designed to eliminate long-term, back-diving contracts — something the NHL has asked for. However, the union chose not adopt the NHL’s proposed changes to unrestricted free agency, entry-level deals and salary arbitration.
“We’ve moved in their direction previously on a couple of the player contracting issues,” said Fehr. “The rest are very, very important to the players.”
The NHL is expected to offer a response on Wednesday afternoon.
With the lockout into its 10th week, the sides are attempting to reach a deal that would see a shortened schedule played this season. The labour dispute has damaged the sport’s business, which the NHLPA says it factored into the latest offer.
“We have taken the lockout specifically into effect,” said Fehr. “The proposal essentially has a difference of $182-million in the players’ share over five years between our proposal and theirs. We’ve moved far more than halfway.”