October 17, 2012 in Sports

NHL offers 50-50 split of revenues

Associated Press
 
Tags:NHL
Associated Press photo

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, foreground, made first new settlement offer in 34 days.
(Full-size photo)

TORONTO – The stalled talks between the NHL and the players’ association finally got a jumpstart on Tuesday.

After watching 34 days pass without a new proposal being offered from either side in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, Commissioner Gary Bettman made a new offer to the NHLPA that proposes a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue and a full 82-game season starting Nov. 2.

As talks resumed for the first time since last week between the league and the union, Bettman proudly announced the offer, which is crafted for – if nothing else – a quick response from the head of the players’ association, Donald Fehr, followed by some serious negotiations either here or in New York.

“It was done,” Bettman said, “in the spirit of getting a deal done.”

Fehr told reporters that the proposal is for six years. Bettman did not confirm that number.

“Our hope,” he said, “after we review this is that there will be a feeling on the players’ side that this will be a proposal from which we can negotiate and try and reach a conclusion.”

When asked if the new proposal was an improvement over previous offers made by the NHL, Fehr said: “In some respects, I think it is. In other respects, I’m not sure. We have to look at it.”

The NHL locked out its players on Sept. 15, and the regular season was scheduled to begin last Thursday. A Nov. 2 start date would extend the season well into June, but would preserve some of the marquee events, such as the Jan. 1 Winter Classic in Michigan.

“I don’t want to get into the substance other than to say we believe that this was a fair offer for a long-term deal, and it’s one that we hope gets a positive reaction,” Bettman said. “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.”

Bettman said the long-term deal takes steps to guarantee the players will get full value from their existing deals. And in order to pull off the logistics of the schedule, each team would have one additional game every five weeks in order to get a full season in.

“Gary indicated to me and I assume he indicated to you that they would like to get a full 82-game season in,” Fehr said. “We, of course, share that view and would like to get a full 82-game season in. But, we are not in a position to make any comments about it beyond that at this point.”

All teams would also hold a makeshift training camp, lasting approximately one week. Veteran players who signed contracts overseas would need to scramble back to their team headquarters, as will the younger players who are working in the minor leagues, like the AHL, this month.

It is clearly the best offer – or counteroffer, for that matter – that has been made in the months of negotiations since last season ended in June. And the proposal is now in the hands of Fehr and his team of executives, who acknowledged that the proposal was stronger than the previous ones the union had received.

“We’re going to be on-call to them. They have some work to do internally. Obviously, we didn’t put this proposal, this offer, together overnight, and they’re going to need a little time to review it,” Bettman said. “I’m hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place.”

To that end, the union has formally requested time to look the proposal over.

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email