The Florida Panthers’ resident tough guy and Ivy League boy, George Parros was one of the current NHL players to take part in the NHL and NHLPA’s collective bargaining agreement as the two sides resumed talks in New York City on Tuesday July 31.
Maybe the union brought Parros along to offer a little union muscle?
The latest meeting took place at the NHL’s Manhattan office and focused on a more thorough explanation of the NHL’s proposed revenue sharing arrangement that the league originally proposed to the player’s union on July 13. The meeting also featured several sub-committee sessions to discuss medical care, training camp procedures, and roster moves.
The lengthy CBA discussions have hockey fans all over North America sweating. The current CBA expires on midnight September 15 and the clock is ticking. Fortunately neither side has talked about a strike or a lockout and the proceedings are lengthy but they seem to be moving along at a relatively friendly discourse.
Some of the controversial topics in the league’s first offering include; a decreased hockey related revenue shard for the players from 57 percent to 46 percent, an extension of rookie contracts from three years to five years, a five-year cap on all contracts, and an end to contract arbitration.
Donald Fehr, the Executive Director of the NHLPA has made it clear from the initial offering that the PA isn’t happy about the proposed contract limits. Fehr told NHL.com,
“We let them know that as a general matter, players are not enamored with the proposals they made that would restrict player bargaining power on individual contracts.”
The next step of the process is for the NHLPA to draft a counteroffer for the NHL, a process that couldn’t begin until the union received all the information it requested. Neither side seems to be in any hurry to get a deal done but neither side seems to be worried.
It’s worth noting that the hockey world won’t stop spinning on September 15 if there is no deal done by that date. The current CBA states that if both sides are willing to negotiate beyond that date, the season can begin under the rules of the current CBA.
Any stoppage of play at this point would be detrimental to the sport of hockey, particularly in the U.S. market. In the last twenty years the league has seen two stoppages of play. The sport has only recently begun to recover from the lost season of 2004-05. There’s plenty of bread on the table for everyone but both sides must decide how to divide it.