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HOCKEY RELEASED! DEAL ALMOST DONE; RATIFICATION AWAITS
Published January 12, 1995
The NHLPA recommended that its members accept the owners' latest contract offer. The union will now conduct a ratification vote, and players "are expected to confirm" the six-year CBA by noon tomorrow. NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow: "We have come to a conclusion that both sides can live with and now we can grow together." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "I'm thrilled, happy, relieved, take any emotion you want on the spectrum. ... It's important that the league and players come together" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/12). ESPN's Bob Ley: "Like Jason who, yes, wore a goalie mask, the season could not be killed" ("SportsCenter," 1/11). NOT A DONE DEAL? Many players were reluctant to predict easy passage for the agreement among the union membership. Ranger Mike Hudson: "I wouldn't be surprised if the 'No' vote was as high as 30 percent" (Mark Everson, N.Y. POST, 1/12). Among the most "contentious" issue remaining is back pay (Dave Luecking, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/12). Other questions the players are asking: "How will their salaries be computed? Will they be prorated against their base pay for an 84-game season or be based on the number of days in the coming partial season. ... Will current players' statuses be grandfathered?" (Jim Smith, NEWSDAY, 1/12). Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick: "There's a lot of things unanswered. It's going to come down to one or two votes, it's going to be very tight" (ESPN, 1/11). WHAT NEXT? For the owners, revenue sharing looms as the next major challenge. The issue "is certain to rekindle animosities." Oilers Owner Peter Pocklington: "I have NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's word this will be addressed at the next board meeting. And that's good enough for me" (Shoalts & Milner, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/12). James Christie writes that during the lockout, the "gap between the NHL's small-market and major-market teams went from being a cleft to a rift to a chasm" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/12). Canucks President Pat Quinn: "It's an owners' problem, not a players' problem" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/12).