May 17, 2012

Negotiations ‘Cold as Ice’ during NHL playoffs

Filed under: National Hockey League — Giorgio Varlaro @ 1:54 am

Supplied via Google Images

Months removed from the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) labor negotiations, the National Hockey League (NHL) has now immerged as the new front runner of the four major sports leagues to declare a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). As of today, the NHL provided written notice to the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) that it intends to change and/or end the current CBA.

120 days removed from the September 15th deadline, both the players and owners might have to hash out negotiations of revenue sharing, rule changes, retirement benefits and player safety. The NHL is unlike the three other major U.S. pro leagues (NFL, NBA and MLB) since it is not known if the league or the players will seek major economic or other changes to the current system, which could in turn lead to a work stoppage. The NFL and NBA made it clear years in advance of the expiration of their CBA that major economic changes were needed. That advance didn’t prevent a strike.

With a little over four months before the end of the deadline, only speculation can be made at this time. The only information we can go on currently came during a speech before the Sports Lawyers Association on Saturday (May 12th). NHLPA’s Steve Fehr said he did not know if the NHL would be seeking major concessions from the players or not, but if the owners were seeking such concessions, the players are not inclined to make them.

With this known, the MLB is the only league of the four to reach a new labor deal without a lockout or strike. Is it possible with the current economy for the NHL to prevent a lockout? Once the playoffs are finished, the owners and players will have three months to negotiate. Is that enough time? Has the NHL learned from  2004?


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