Rangers’ Panarin voices concerns about escrow ahead of NHL’s return

New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin (10) skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin is eager for the season to resume, but is raising some concerns ahead of a potential return to play — particularly when it comes to escrow.

Panarin put out a personal statement on Twitter on Thursday, saying it’s “time to fix the escrow” and that players “cannot report to camp to resume play without already having an agreement in place.”

“I am very much looking forward to the playoffs with the New York Rangers. I have concerns not only about the health of players and their families but also about the long term prosperity of the NHL,” Panarin wrote. “For nearly two decades, the players have protected the owners’ income with escrow, including throughout this pandemic crisis, even as owners’ equity continues to grow exponentially. It is time to fix the escrow. We as players cannot report to camp to resume play without already having an agreement in place. We are all in this together.”

Escrow is a mechanism built into the CBA to ensure players and teams reach a 50-50 hockey-related revenue split by withholding a percentage of players’ salary each year. With the season on hold and revenues taking a massive hit — and likely continuing to suffer with the prospect of having arenas closed to fans for the foreseeable future, escrow has understandably been a major talking point.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement is in effect through the 2021-22 season following last September’s decision not to reopen formal negotiations. CBA talks between players and the league are currently ongoing, and escrow is always a key factor in discussions.

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