In an attempt to save the season, the National Hockey League has offered a 50-50 split of all hockey-related revenue with the NHL players’ association. With the offer on the table, the league hopes to start a full 82-game season on Nov. 2.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the offer can lead to more earnest talks between the two sides and possibly end the lockout, which began Sept. 15 and has forced the cancellation of all preseason games.
Previously, the league had wanted the players’ association to cut their share of hockey-related revenue from 53 percent to 43 percent, but later increased the players’ association share to 47 percent. The players’ association wanted to keep their share of hockey-related revenue to around 52 percent.
The current NHL proposal offers a 50-50 split of all hockey-related revenue and give veterans the ability to become free agents after eight years on the same team. Revenue sharing will increase to $200 million and player contracts cannot exceed five years.
According to Canada’s Sportsnet, the league decided to keep salary arbitration as part of the proposal after initially wanting to get rid of it in prior proposals.
Another concession made by the league includes no immediate salary rollbacks. In the most recent period of free agency, several teams signed players to large contracts, including the Minnesota Predators who signed free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter each to 13-year, $98 million contracts.
In talking to reporters in Toronto after recent CBA negotiations with the players’ association, Commissioner Gary Bettman said “we offered a 50-50 share of HRR, hockey related revenues, and we believe we addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50 percent.”
According to Bettman, “we have about nine or ten days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward.”
Don Fehr, executive director for the players’ association, commented to reporters following their meeting with the league, “our hope is that after we review this that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this is a proposal from which we can negotiate and try to reach a conclusion. But, we are not in a position to make any comments about it beyond that at this point.”