NHL reviewing counter-proposal from players' association
Published Monday, December 31, 2012 8:41AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 31, 2012 6:14PM EST
The NHL will take time to look at a counter-proposal the players’ association presented to the league Monday afternoon, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Bettman said the league will spend Monday evening reviewing the NHL Players’ Association’s proposal. He said he hopes the two sides can resume talks by midday Tuesday.
The NHLPA and the league took a break from talks, after the players’ association presented a counter-offer to the NHL’s latest proposal.
The talks ended around 4 p.m. on Monday, so that both sides could hold internal meetings.
Representatives for the players’ association arrived at the league’s New York headquarters Monday morning, as the deadline to reach a deal and salvage a shortened hockey season draws ever closer.
The meeting was the first time the two sides have negotiated in nearly three weeks.
The NHL had presented a new offer to the players on Thursday. The 300-page proposal led to "information sessions" and discussions between the two sides about the proposal over the weekend, but did not immediately trigger a return to actual bargaining.
In order to achieve a 48-game season -- the minimum number of games deemed feasible -- games would have to commence by Jan. 19.
"There is a real sense of urgency because in order to get in that 48-game season and have the playoffs in late June, that season would have to start Jan. 19," said CTV's Melanie Nagy, reporting from New York. "But you have to factor in training camp, so that would be Jan. 11 and that is the timeline that was put out by the most recent counter-proposal."
The recent sessions, which were conducted via conference call and in face-to-face meetings in New York, wrapped up Sunday afternoon.
The two sides have not met for formal negotiations since Dec. 6, when talks broke down after several days of direct negotiations between the players and owners, with league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr staying out of the discussions in an attempt to ease tensions in the room.
Those talks fell apart when the players presented a counter-proposal to an offer put forward by the owners. The players' offer was quickly rejected, with Bettman saying he was "disappointed beyond belief" at the state of the talks.
Key points from the NHL's latest offer include:
- A 50-50 split between clubs and players of hockey-related revenue (HRR)
- Contract lengths to be capped at a maximum of six years (up from the previous offer of five years)
- No contractual "roll backs" of player's salaries
- US$300 million in deferred transition payments to the players, something the league had taken off the table when talks broke down in December.
The offer also calls for a six-year term limit on free-agent deals -- up from five -- and will allow teams to re-sign their own players for up to seven years.
Also included is a provision that salary can vary by 10 per cent from year to year during the course of a deal. The league's previous offer proposed a five per cent difference.
The latest proposal is to apply to a 10-year period, running through to the 2021-22 season. Both sides will have the right to opt out after eight years.
With files from CTV National News' Melanie Nagy