January 10, 2013

NHL achieves ‘Flying V’ with new agreement

Filed under: National Hockey League — Giorgio Varlaro @ 11:20 pm

Supplied via Google Images

The business of sport, forgotten within the scope of an athletic event, has seen its mighty reign end with the approval of a new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The 10-year deal, which ended a 113-day lockout, completed negotiations between players and owners when it relates to player salaries, revenue sharing and retirement incentives.

Presuming players ratify the deal by Saturday, January 12, 2013, training camp would open up the following day (Sunday) and the season would begin January 19th.

Both sides came to an initial agreement of a 50-50 split between hockey-related revenue, down from 57 percent in the last deal. Added to this, players will receive new contract rights, giving them the ability to sign an eight-year contract if they choose to stay with the team they currently play for. A new pension plan was also comprised in the new deal.

Undecided in the new agreement were league realignment and participation in the 2014 Olympics (in Sochi, Russia).

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who was also a part of the last lockout in 2004, did apologize for the amount of time which occurred for an agreement to be made, but reiterated that the stability that the NHLPA has shown under Donald Fehr will allow owners and the NHLPA to have an easier time working together moving forward.

Stability, a term which has not been associated with the NHL in some time, would benefit the league as a whole. Lockouts, on the other hand, are something fans aren’t going to have to deal with for at least another decade. Including the NFL, NBA and NHL, 411 days of labor negotiations incurred from 2011-2013 while owners and players were vying for a new collective bargaining agreement.




  1. This post makes it seem as if the 8-year contract is a new right for the players. It’s actually the opposite, it’s a concession from the players, as the contracts used to be unlimited term, which allowed teams to front load the contract. For example, the Ilya Kovalchuck deal a few years ago was for like, 15 years or something like that, but it was so front loaded that he was getting something close to $9 mil a year for the first few years, but the back end (which were years that he was unlikely to reach) were for the league minimum.

    It was a loophole teams would exploit in order to lower the cap hit and circumvent the spirit of the cap. This is why, for so long during this lockout, the league was insisting on a 5 year contract limit. I think 7 for FA and 8 for players re-signing is perfect, because it allows loyalty, reduces turnover (what player wants to move his family every 4 years?), and also reduces the ability to circumvent the cap like teams were doing.

    Comment by Pat Ayling — January 11, 2013 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

    • Pat, you bring up an interesting point. Contracts in athletics are all about guarantees, unless you’re dealing with the MLB. Do these contracts allow for players to stay with one team for their entire career, no, but they allow teams to pay accurate measures for players since future performance can never be determined. I’ve never been one against players receiving large signing bonuses since these players never know when their last game could be. In return, teams can give the player a smaller base salary and the possibility of putting together a solid product (unless you’re the MLB where luxury tax allocations do not have to be put into the product since to salary cap is present).

      With this known, we still have to wait for the new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement to be finalized. When that occurs players, owners and fans can speculate whether this new deal with make the NHL product better. I’m happy hockey is back, but the sport is far from dominating television revenues in the United States. That a story for another time and place however…I appreciate your post and insight!

      Comment by Giorgio Varlaro — January 12, 2013 @ 5:48 am | Reply

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