The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) submitted its first proposal on economic issues during a Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiating session Tuesday.
The proposal, which included the core economic elements the Union believes should be included in a new agreement, was delivered during a two-hour meeting between the respective negotiating committees from the National Hockey League and the Union at the NHLPA office.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after the session that the League’s negotiating committee told the Union time would be needed to analyze the proposal before responding.
The two sides plan to meet again Wednesday.
“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 a little bit of time to evaluate it, to understand it,” Commissioner Bettman said. “We told them that we would go back to our offices to do that and we would be prepared to meet again [Wednesday] morning, which is what we’re going to do.”
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires Sept. 15. Commissioner Bettman said this past week the League’s owners are not prepared to operate under the terms of the current CBA for the 2012-13 season.
The owners delivered their initial proposal during a negotiating session July 13. The Union, which spent the past month analyzing the League’s proposal, presented its first proposal on economic issues Tuesday.
Commissioner Bettman said he was not prepared to characterize the Union’s proposal because the League’s negotiating committee still had not had the opportunity to fully digest the presentation.
“Our hope is to spend whatever time it takes this afternoon and this evening to review the proposal because if we’re going to respond we want to respond appropriately,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Obviously, if we can’t finish our analysis and evaluation today we may need more time tomorrow, but our hope is to be in a positiontomorrow to get back together.”
Commissioner Bettman also said that he and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly thanked the 23 players who attended the meeting Tuesday for their input into the process.
Fehr characterized some of the initiatives in the proposal during a 12-minute press conference Tuesday in the lobby of the Union’s office.
Fehr said the Union’s proposal calls for the players to take a reduced share of hockey-related revenue for the next three seasons, after which the players would have the option to revert back to the terms of the current CBA for one season. If they chose not to take that option, the new CBA — under the Union’s proposal — would be terminated after three seasons.
“Regardless of how you view the industry as a whole it may be that there are some individual franchises in cities which need some attention,” Fehr said. “The owners certainly have indicated to us that they believe that is true, and so what we wanted to do is try, as you should in bargaining, to address the concerns that are given to you if you believe you can do so consistent with your obligations to your own constituents and negotiating a fair deal.”
Fehr said the Union’s proposal includes “significantly expanded, more aggressive, and more targeted revenue sharing.”
He also said the Union’s proposal “has facets in it which are designed to give the clubs, in particular the general managers and club presidents, more flexibility in putting teams together.” Fehr added that the Union’s proposal keeps the salary-cap system in place — with “a couple of small exceptions to it.”
Commissioner Bettman and Fehr both said the goal remains to have a new CBA in place so no time in the 2012-13 season is missed.
“Our hope is that we can take care of business in the next month,” Commissioner Bettman said. “That’s our goal.”