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NHLPA Submits an “Alternative View” in Labor Talks with NHL

August 15th, 2012 at 9:37 AM
By Matthew Heimlich

On Tuesday, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported that the NHLPA has submitted a proposal to the NHL that NHLPA head Donald Fehr has termed "an alternative view" and not a counter-offer to the NHL's initial proposal. The NHLPA's position is that the players are willing to take less money in salaries over the term of the next CBA in return for an increase in revenue sharing between the league's wealthiest and poorest teams.

Fehr said that the proposal would mean that NHL team owners would save between $465 and $800 million in salaries over the 3 years of the CBA, depending whether the league's growth rate stayed at its 7% annual average or was in double digits like last year. In return, the proposal calls for increase revenue sharing, up to $250 million per year, between NHL clubs. 

Additionally, the proposal calls for player contracts to remain the same with regard to free agency, term limits and salary arbitration, while the owners' version seeks to change all three of these aspects of players compensation. 

It is worth noting that the NHLPA's proposal does not try to repeal the hard cap imposed after the 2004-5 lockout, and does not suggest a luxury tax for those teams who want to spend beyond payroll limits.

Under the former CBA, player salary increases were directly tied to hockey related revenue. If revenue's went up 7%, both the salary cap and floor would go up 7%. In their proposal, the NHLPA said they are willing to cap their salary increases and break the direct tie from revenue increases. They offer to have their salaries increase 2% in the first year, 4% in the second year and 6% in the third year. There is also a "players' option" for a fourth year, where the players can elect for the system to revert to the present levels, with the players' taking home 57% of hockey related revenue.

Under this proposal, if a 7% increase is anticipated next season, the 2012-13 salary cap would be $70-million, up from last season's $64.3-million.

"When you boil it all down, what we're suggesting is the players partner with the financially stronger owners to help stabilize the industry and assist the less financially strong ownership groups," Fehr said. 

The players and owners are expected to return to the bargaining table this afternoon.

Tags: Donald Fehr, Law, NHL, NHLPA, Sports, Sports Law

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