Though focus has now shifted to the post-season on the ice, off it representatives from the league and the Players’ Association have met privately to try to find a solution to an issue that will always be a point of contention in collective bargaining agreement discussions: Escrow.
“The NHL and the NHLPA have continued to meet quietly in small groups, and I understand that they are really trying to grind to see if they can try to find a solution for the escrow issue,” said Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman during the ‘Headlines’ segment of Hockey Night in Canada Saturday. “I think everybody realizes that’s the No. 1 thing that has to get worked on here and other things can fall into place. I understand they are having serious discussions at ways to handle this.”
Just as a quick reminder, escrow is, in essence when applied to the NHL, a reduction in players’ salaries that gets deducted from each paycheque and then put into a fund that can’t be touched until the end of the season, when the league knows what its revenue for the year was and can then calculate how much escrow can be handed out to the players and how much teams get.
This current escrow system was put in place to create a 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue between the teams and the players.
The current CBA isn’t scheduled to expire until after the 2021-22 season, but both the NHL (Sept. 1) and NHLPA (Sept. 19) can choose to opt out of it this year, meaning getting ahead on negotiations so as to avoid a potential lockout is still very important business.