NHL formally notifies NHLPA that it will not reopen CBA


Donald Fehr, left, and Gary Bettman. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The NHL has formally notified the NHLPA that it will not reopen the CBA, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The league had until Sept. 1 to notify the Players’ Association of whether or not it wanted to trigger a 2020 end-date for the current CBA — now the spotlight shifts to the NHLPA, which has until Sept. 15 to make the same decision. If neither side opts for early termination, the current agreement would run through September 2022.

In a release, the NHLPA said it will continue to discuss the matter with players ahead of the Sept. 15 deadline.

Commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement on the NHL’s decision Friday afternoon.

Based on the current state of the game and the business of the game, the NHL believes it is essential to continue building upon the momentum we have created with our Players and, therefore, will not exercise its option to reopen the CBA. Rather, we are prepared to have the current CBA remain in effect for its full term – three more seasons through the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

It is our hope that a continued, sustained period of labor peace will enable us to further grow the game and benefit all constituent groups: NHL Players, Clubs, our business partners and, most important, our fans.

In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed. This is certainly true from the League’s standpoint. However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA – while working with the Players’ Association to address our respective concerns – far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season.

Earlier this month, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke with Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston about the league’s collective bargaining talks, and said the league was optimistic of the direction of the negotiations.

“The general state of things, there seems to be a lot of agreement on,” Daly told Johnston. “It’s very kind of amorphous right now but there doesn’t seem to be like a huge sticking point on the issues we’ve talked about. I think there’s general agreement kind of directionally. Where we should be going.

“I think both sides have been open that the agreement’s not a perfect agreement and could be improved, but nobody’s holding out for a home run.”

He added that there is an overall sense of greater agreement between the two sides than in past negotiations.

“Clearly the last two negotiations we needed something and we needed something material,” Daly said to Johnston. “We needed an entire change to the system in ‘04 and ‘05 and we needed to change our share of the system in ‘12-’13. Now we’re in a position where we think the agreement fundamentally is working pretty well.”

While the NHLPA now has until Sept. 15 to decide whether to reopen the CBA, Daly told Johnston there are plenty of options available that would allow the league to continue on without interruption.

“One would be kind of an extension on the reopener. One would be some type of extension on the termination date. One could be an agreement to go to the end of the 10-year term as it is and another could be adding years on to the existing 10-year agreement,” Daly told Johnston.

“All are possibilities.”

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