The NHLPA’s Executive Board has approved the CBA extension and return-to-play plan that was recently agreed to with the NHL. The entire NHLPA membership will now have an opportunity to vote on the two agreements with a simple majority required to ratify them.
In a tweet, the NHLPA announced that the full membership vote will be conducted electronically from Wednesday to Friday this week and the result of the vote is expected to be announced shortly after. The NHL’s Board of Governors will also vote on the agreements sometime this week.
The return-to-play plan includes all the rules and regulations necessary for the NHL to stage a 24-team return later this summer. This agreement covers Phase 3 of the return — training camps beginning July 13 — and Phase 4 — the resumption of play on Aug. 1. Any player that wishes to opt out of returning to play will have 72 hours to do so once the agreement has been approved.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston has more information on what the return-to-play plan covers here.
While the return-to-play plan was essential to complete the 2019-20 season, a CBA extension was equally important as it dictates how the league will move forward from a season that could cost it up to $1 billion in lost revenues. The current agreement was scheduled to expire in September of 2022 and the extension adds four more years.
As part of the agreement, the salary cap will remain flat at $81.5 million for every season until league revenues hit $4.8 billion. The agreement also offers some stability with regards to escrow charged to the players. With a 50-50 split in revenue and teams expected to play in at best partially full stadiums next season, players were potentially going to be hit very hard by escrow to cover the lost revenues. The new CBA caps escrow at 20 per cent in 2020-21 and that number will go down as league revenues go up over the course of the deal.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has more details on the CBA here, including information about new trade clause rules and Olympic participation.
After suspending the season and sending players home in March, the NHL began Phase 2 of returning to play on June 8 by allowing small group skates at team facilities. In the month since Phase 2 began, 35 players have tested positive for COVID-19, the NHL announced Monday.