As expected the NHLPA presented their proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement to the owners. The executive director of the players association Donald Fehr told reporters prior to the meeting today the proposal will be an “alternative view” rather than a counter-offer to the initial plan put forward by the NHL last month.
The offer from the union called for a smaller percentage of revenues for players and an expanded revenue sharing program to help struggling teams. Donald Fehr says the players could give up as much as $465 million in revenue under the proposal. If the league continues to grow at an average as it has over the past several years, the amount of money the players could give back could reach $800 million.
The union’s proposal would not eliminate the salary cap that was installed by the league during the last round of the collective bargaining agreements back in 2004-05. The union also proposed to help struggling teams by offer more revenue sharing that could reach up to $250 million dollars. The terms of the new deal would be three years with an option for the players to revert by to the current system that is set to expire in September.
Fehr told reporters after the meeting about the proposal, “In essence, when you boil it all down, what were suggesting is that the players partner with financially stronger owners to stabilize the industry and to assist the less financially strong ownership groups.”
The league will take its time to review the proposal by the players and then will respond appropriately during the rest of meetings during the week. Commissioner Gary Bettman about the proposal, “we are going to need a lit of bit of time to review the proposal. The union did not put the proposal together in an hour or two.”
As you recall last month, the NHL proposal called for lowering the players’ share in revenue and introducing new contract restrictions, including a five-year cap on deals.
While the players have attended every session, this was the first session the biggest names in the game were attending the negotiating session. The league and its players association have been talking every week and progress has been made, but not on the key issue of revenue sharing.
The current collective bargaining is set to expire on September 15, and the NHL has said there will be a lockout if a new agreement isn’t in place by then.