NHL players willing to accept less in offer to league: union
Published Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:19AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:17PM EDT
The National Hockey League Players' Association has released details about its counteroffer to the NHL, saying players are willing to forgo a portion of league revenues to avoid a lockout.
Union leader Donald Fehr said the proposal in the latest round of collective bargaining talks with the league includes a smaller percentage of revenues for players and a revenue sharing program to help struggling teams.
The NHL’s offer, tabled last month, called for lowering the players' revenue share and new contract restrictions, including a five-year cap on deals.
Under the union’s proposal, players could give up as much as US$465 million over three years in league revenue sharing, Fehr told reporters Tuesday.
That sum could reach US$800 million if the league continues to grow at its current rate of 7.7 per cent each season, he said.
But Fehr did not say exactly what percentage of NHL revenues players are willing to accept.
"We do believe that the proposal the players made today, once implemented, can produce a stable industry ... that can gives us a chance to move beyond the recurring labour strife that has plagued the NHL the last two decades," he said.
"In essence, when you boil it all down, what we’re suggesting is that the players partner with the financially stronger owners to stabilize the industry and assist the less financially strong ownership groups."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league has received the players’ proposal but needs time to review the offer.
“I’m not going to tell you what it means because we need to evaluate it and make sure we fully understand it,” Bettman said at a Tuesday news conference.
"It's clear to me that they didn't put it together in an hour or two, and as a result we're going to need to take a little bit of time to evaluate it," Bettman said, adding that he hopes talks will continue on Wednesday.
The NHL and its players’ association have just more than a month to reach an agreement.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15 and the NHL has said there will be a lockout if a new deal isn't in place by then.
With files from The Canadian Press