Marathon Meetings Yield Some Progress

National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association representatives met for fourteen hours on Thursday and another eight hours on Friday, coming away from the meetings cautiously optimistic about the chances of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.

“We had two long days of meetings in which the parties discussed and made progress on some of the key issues pertaining to a new economic system,” said NHL executive vice president Bill Daly in a release. “While we have not yet been able to reach agreement on those issues, we remain committed to continuing the process in earnest until a new collective bargaining agreement can be achieved.”

While both sides acknowledged the progress, NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin confirmed that there are many issues left to resolve.

“While we made progress in some areas there remain many issues to be addressed. Since so many of the systemic and economic issues are interrelated, it is clear that much work remains to be done.”

The two sides spent Thursday and Friday attempting to determine what constitutes a team’s revenue. The Players’ Association has long argued that it does not believe the league’s numbers in relation to team-by-team income and expenditures.

The league was represented by commissioner Gary Bettman, Daly, director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, NHL general counsel David Zimmerman, board of governors chairman Harley Hotchkiss of the Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils CEO and GM Lou Lamoriello, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold, outside counsel Bob Batterman and lawyer Shep Goldfein.

Representing the NHLPA were executive director Bob Goodenow, Saskin, associate counsel Ian Pulver, director of business relations Mike Gartner, outside counsel McCambridge, Detroit Red Wings veteran Brendan Shanahan, and the executive committee, consisting of president Trevor Linden and vice-presidents Vincent Damphousse, Bill Guerin, Daniel Alfredsson, Arturs Irbe, Trent Klatt and Bob Boughner.

The sides hope to meet every week until a new CBA is negotiated.

NHLPA Membership Meeting Cancelled

Even after three days of collective bargaining negotiations between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association this week, the NHLPA feels there is no new news to update its membership with and has cancelled a meeting set for later this month.

“In early April, when we set the May 24-26 meeting dates, we thought these dates would work well to allow both North American and European based players to get together,” NHLPA president Trevor Linden said in a statement. “Since our late-February meeting with 156 players in Toronto, we decided there is not sufficient new information to justify another meeting at this time.”

With many NHLPA members spending the 2004-05 season in Europe, this was to be the first membership meeting including all 700 players.

The league and the union met on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, with more meetings scheduled for next week.

League, Union to Continue Meetings Tuesday

After a three hour meeting on Thursday and a hour-and-a-half hour meeting on Friday, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association appear to be no closer to a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement than they were at the start of the week. The two sides will meet again next Tuesday in New York before leaving for the World Championships in Austria.

The league did make an offer on Thursday and Friday was spent discussing the specific numbers involved in the offer. Reportedly, the offer is based on the NHLPA’s April 4th proposal, which included upper and lower salary caps determined by league revenue.

“No real progress I can report on,” said NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly, who also declined to report the details of the plan.

“We met with league representatives the past two days and continued discussions to develop a new conceptual framework for an agreement,” NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said. “No progress was made.”

League, Union Resume Meetings

The National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association met for the first time in over two weeks on Thursday. It was the first of four scheduled meetings between the two sides as they attempt to come to terms on an new collective bargaining agreement before the start of the 2005-06 season.

The session lasted for just over three hours, from 11:15 AM EDT to 2:30 PM. Neither group released a statement regarding the day’s discussions.

The two sides will meet again on Friday and then on Monday and Tuesday before NHL comissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive directir Bob Goodenow visit Austria for the conclusion of the ongoing World Championship.