NHL's Bill Daly Both Optimistic, Frustrated With Upcoming CBA Meeting With Union
The NHL and NHLPA will resume negotiations tomorrow in N.Y. for a new CBA, and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly expressed both optimism and frustration when discussing the league’s goals for the meeting. “We certainly hope to engage and find some degree of traction in finding a solution on the economics of the Player system moving forward,” Daly wrote in an e-mail. “To this point, despite repeated attempts, we have not been able to find common ground upon which to build toward a resolution.” The first meeting tomorrow is expected to be among the groups’ lead execs: Daly, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr. Daly wrote that it was “uncertain at this point” if the league would present a new proposal to the union. “That’s something we will determine between now and tomorrow’s meeting,” he wrote (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).
REVENUE SHARING A MAJOR POINT OF CONTENTION: In Columbus, Aaron Portzline noted revenue sharing “has surfaced as a point of contention” during the labor meetings. The league has offered to increase the revenue-sharing pool to $190M, up from the current $150M. However, the league perhaps more importantly has “hinted that it plans to ‘relax’ the many restrictions it put in place when revenue sharing was implemented in 2005.” Those restrictions include clubs not qualifying “if they play in a market with more than 2.5 million TV homes,” maintaining an average home attendance of 14,000 and maintaining a “revenue growth rate on par with the rest of the league.” Portzline: “It’s unclear to what extent the NHL plans to relax those restrictions, but they were put in place at the behest of wealthy owners, to insure they weren’t simply giving money to clubs who weren’t trying to be competitive” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/26). Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse wrote if NHLPA members “know anything of labor history in sports, they will hang with Fehr -- not even agreeing to give away snow in the wintertime, until they get a deal where they take a much smaller hit and let the owners solve their issues.” Reusse: “The union members should keep in mind that Fehr has negotiated against, and beaten, tougher foes than Bettman” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/26).
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO: In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa wrote Flyers Chair Ed Snider is “one of the strongmen” on the NHL BOG, but fans can “excuse the NHLPA for raising an eye about part of the NHL’s platform -- five-year limits on contracts -- when Snider’s hockey operations department is tossing around long-term deals like Frisbees.” The team earlier this month signed LW Scott Hartnell and RW Wayne Simmonds to six-year deals, while the Predators matched the Flyers’ offer sheet to D Shea Weber for a 14-year contract. Shinzawa: “As one of the board’s most influential members, Snider’s approval of long-term contracts and a financial straitjacket on a small-market Nashville club don’t exactly follow the company line” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/26).