NHL top brass, players’ union meet again
Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – A day after the NHL cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season, the league’s top brass and representatives from the players’ union met Friday and discussed ways to move the process towards ending the lockout.
The league was represented by commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly while Don Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players Association, and his brother, Steve, the union’s special counsel, represented the players.
Daly described the meeting as “a general discussion of where we were in the process and how we might be able to move the process forward.”
He added that the two sides are planning to touch base by phone over the weekend. “Nothing more to report for now,” Daly said.
The two sides are far apart regarding hockey-related revenue. The owners want to reduce the players’ share from 57 percent to about 47 percent. The union has offered to accept diminished pay raises that would reduce players’ share of revenue to about 53 percent.
Last week, the two sides also met in New York to discuss non-economic issues but talks broke off, forcing the NHL to cancel the first two weeks of the season, or equivalent to 82 games from Oct. 11 to Oct. 24.
Daly said the league was disappointed to make the announcement, saying the “game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better”.
However, he refused to say whether the cancelled games could be rescheduled if a new collective bargaining agreement will be reached.
“If and when we reach a deal with the players association we would work with them to reconfigure a schedule,” Daly said. “Would be subject to a lot of considerations, probably the most important of which is being mindful of the health and safety of the players.”
About 100 players have signed with overseas leagues since the lockout began. During the 2004-05 lockout, when the whole season was canceled, nearly 400 players joined European leagues.