SBD/November 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHLPA Discovers Unreported Revenues After Auditing Select NHL Clubs

NHLPA believes Glendale's $25M payment should count as hockey-related revenue
After "exercising its right for the first time to audit select NHL clubs, the NHLPA believes it has discovered unreported revenues from last season," according to sources cited by Larry Brooks of the N.Y. POST. That, in addition to a "dispute over whether the $25 million Glendale, Ariz., paid the NHL to keep the Coyotes from absconding to Winnipeg should be considered hockey-related revenue, is what is holding up issuance of the escrow refunds to the players and checks to the owners who qualify for the second round of 2010-11 revenue sharing." Sources said that the Capitals and Predators are "among at least a handful of clubs that have been cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue, with the matter now more likely than not to be decided in arbitration." Sources noted that the union is "prohibited from auditing past seasons regardless of the degree (if any) of malfeasance, misfeasance or just plain carelessness of those clubs who allegedly under-reported revenue to be shared with the athletes." Former NHLPA Exec Dir Ted Saskin "signed a side agreement after the last CBA was reached in '05 that "precludes the PA from auditing teams once the books on a season are closed." Meanwhile, a high-ranking team source said that the players "'will get 48 to 50 percent, and there will be a rollback' in the next CBA as if it is a fait accompli." The players currently are "entitled to 57 percent of the revenue" under the deal conceived that expires on Sept. 15. Sources said that NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr is "not only telling players that negotiating sessions will be open to all members of the union but urging them to attend whenever possible, all expenses paid." Sources also said that Fehr intends to bring on former MLBer and player rep Tom Glavine to the NHLPA to "serve as a conduit to the athletes" (N.Y. POST, 11/13).

SENSE OF OPTIMISM: In New Jersey, Rich Chere noted in the months leading up to the '04-05 work stoppage, players "were told by the union to save their money and prepare for the cancellation of the season." But Devils G Martin Brodeur said, "That hasn’t happened this time. It definitely was mentioned, but we feel there is a lot of room for both sides to talk about stuff. I’m not 100 percent sure of all the issues. But, by the look of it compared to the last time, it’s night and day. That’s a really good sign, unless there is a really big surprise." He added, "I’m not 100 percent sure it will get done in September. It could be extended and we could play for a time while we’re talking about it. It seems to be a lot healthier relationship between the players and the owners from last time when we were under Bob Goodenow. But you never know" (NJ.com, 11/13).
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