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NHL players request meeting, league says 'nothing to meet about'

October 23, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, left, arrives with deputy commissioner Bill Daly as the NHL and its locked-out players held negotiations in Toronto last week.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, left, arrives with deputy commissioner… (Chris Young / Associated…)

This post has been updated. See below.

The NHL Players’ Assn. on Tuesday requested a meeting with the NHL, but league executives have not scheduled another bargaining session.

The league, which locked players out Sept. 15, last week set a deadline of this Thursday for having a new, written collective bargaining agreement in place and preserving a full schedule this season.

Without any negotiating sessions planned, the prospects of a full season being played appear dim.

“They have indicated a willingness to meet, but at this point there is nothing to meet about,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said by email Tuesday night. “The union has rejected our proposal from last Tuesday and they have indicated they aren’t making a new one. Back to the drawing board.”

A spokesman for the NHLPA confirmed the union held an executive board meeting and decided to try to schedule a session with the league.

“We are willing to meet [Wednesday] or any other date, without preconditions, to try to reach an agreement,” the spokesman said. “We hope to hear from them soon.”

[Update, 8:42 p.m. Oct. 23, 2012: Steve Fehr, special counsel to the NHLPA, said in a statement, "The league is apparently unwilling to meet. That is unfortunate as it is hard to make progress without talking."]

The two sides agreed on a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue but differ on how players will go from the 57% they received last season to the new, lower share.

The league proposed to defer payments through a “make whole” provision, but players objected to that because they say it would count against their salaries in the later years of the deal. Players also remain opposed to changes in free agency and other contract terms.

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