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NHL Presents New Proposal; Review Set for Saturday

The National Hockey League has made another “comprehensive” collective bargaining agreement proposal to the NHLPA, delivering the goods on Thursday afternoon. The NHLPA is said to have discussed the offer internally over a conference call on Friday. The players’ union and the league will discuss the offer over the phone on Saturday.

“In light of media reports this morning, I can confirm that we delivered to the union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA late yesterday afternoon,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “We are hopeful that once the union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.”

The NHL has made some adjustments to previous proposals and clearly considers this latest round to be a considerable concession in a number of ways.

The new proposal is a 10-year deal that will run through the 2021-2022 season with a mutual “opt-out” right after the eight year mark.

The revenue split is 50-50 between clubs and players (based on current definitions of hockey-related revenue) and there will be $300 million in make-whole payments outside of the CBA to compensate for the implied reduction in player contracts that will come out of the new CBA. There will also be no contractual “rollbacks” of current player salaries.

So the NHL has clearly put some things back on the table, like the make-whole provisions, that were recently removed after offers were rejected. There are some other interesting details, including the clause that allows a team a “compliance buyout” ahead of the 2013-2014 season that enables payments made to the bought-out player to not count against the cap. It will count against the players’ share.

There’s also a Defined Benefit Pension Plan to provide “maximum permissible benefits” to players upon retirement. This is to be funded with contributions from players’ shares and about $50 million of the $300 million make-whole payments will fund “underfunding” of the plan at the conclusion of the new CBA.

Entry level system, salary arbitration and even Group 3 UFA rules will all remain the same.

The league says that it’s aiming at January 11 to get a deal done and training camps will follow shortly after that. The season theoretically could still start on January 19 with a 48-game year still possible. Playoffs would end in late June if a deal is done.

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