NHL makes 50-50 revenue split offer
TORONTO -- The National Hockey League made a proposal Tuesday for a new collective bargaining agreement that could allow an 82-game regular-season schedule to be played, beginning Nov. 2.
"We're focused on getting the puck dropped on Nov. 2 and playing a full 82-game regular-season and full (Stanley Cup) playoffs," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "That's what this offer is all about."
Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly made the offer during an hour-long meeting at the National Hockey League Players' Association's office.
Bettman said the league's offer -- which he termed a "long-term" deal -- includes a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue for the duration of the deal. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr revealed the league's offer calls for "at least" a six-year CBA.
Bettman also said the proposal addresses concerns the union has expressed about how salaries will be affected with their share of hockey-related revenue being reduced from 57 percent in the final year of the previous CBA to a 50-percent share in the proposal made Tuesday. Bettman also said the NHL's proposal does not include a rollback on current player contracts.
"We believe this was a fair offer for a long-term deal and it's one that we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on Nov. 2, which backing up entails at least a one-week training camp," Bettman said. "So, we have about nine or 10 days to put this all to bed, signed, sealed and delivered in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward. We hope that this effort that we've undertaken today will be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans."
Fehr said the union needs time to digest the league's proposal and it would spend Tuesday afternoon doing so before the NHLPA's executive board and negotiating committee discusses the offer in a conference call, scheduled for 5 p.m. EDT
"Our hope is that after we review this that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this is a proposal from which we can negotiate and try and reach a conclusion," Fehr said. "But, we are not in a position to make any comments about it beyond that at this point."
Bettman said the league will wait to hear from the players' association.
"We're going to be on-call to them," he said. "They have some work to do internally. Obviously, we didn't put this proposal, this offer, together overnight and they're going to need a little time to review it. I'm hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place."
For an 82-game regular-season to begin Nov. 2, Bettman said each team would have to play one additional game every five weeks. That would allow the completion of the Stanley Cup finals in late June.
"Beyond that, we don't think it would be good for the players or for the game," Bettman said. "If you look at what our ability would be to schedule 82 games and you work back from Nov. 2, if we didn't do it now, if we didn't put an offer on the table that we thought was fair and could get us playing hockey, then it probably wasn't going to happen for a while because, again, it is done in the spirit of getting a full season in."
The NHL locked out the players on Sept. 16 due to the lack of a CBA. The regular-season schedule through Oct. 24 has been cancelled and Daly has estimated the shared revenue loss so far between the league and the NHLPA is in the neighborhood of $250 million.