Just minutes after NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr outlined a proposal the players had delivered to league executives and expressed hope that the lockout was close to being resolved, the NHL rejected the offer outright and pulled their own offer off the table, raising new concerns about whether or not there will be a 2012-13 NHL season.
“The players responded comprehensively to the various issues that have been brought up at the meetings over last few days,” Fehr told assembled press at the Westin Times Square, where meetings between the NHL and NHLPA had taken place over the previous days.
Of note, the players agreed to the $300 million “make whole” strategy offered by the league, including $50 million to cover player pensions.
To counter the league’s offer of a five-year limit on player contracts (seven years for a team re-signing its own player), the NHLPA offered up an eight year limit. They also suggested an eight-year term for the CBA, rather than then ten-year term offered by the owners.
Nearly immediately after addressing the press, Fehr returned to the podium and announced that the league had replied via voicemail, rejecting the offer.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman explained that the league’s position on Thursday was that “we were waiting today for a yes or a no. Not for a negotiation session.” He then pulled the entire “make whole” strategy off the table and stated that the five-year limit on contracts was non-negotiable.
League executive Bill Daly added that the term limit is “a hill we will die on.”
With no meetings between the sides scheduled, it’s uncertain when talks will resume or if the players’ association will begin the process of decertification.