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Volume 26 No. 177
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NHLPA Reps Point To Escrow As Biggest Bargaining Issue

NHLers have "lost upward" of 10% of their pay to escrow over the past seven seasons, which is why 25 of 31 NHLPA reps surveyed "named escrow as the biggest bargaining issue with September deadlines looming to terminate the current CBA" effective in fall of '20, according to Stephen Whyno of the AP. Other topics player reps pointed to were "Olympic participation, the definition of hockey-related revenue, post-career health care, concerns about youth squeezing out older players because of the salary cap and money." NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said that escrow has "been discussed" in talks with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and that he "expects more to come." But there is "no quick fix to reduce or eliminate escrow without changing substantial things about the economics of the league." Fehr said, "It’s an irritant to players and from time to time it can be a big one. But the question is how you do it. I mean, you can fix escrow by cutting salaries. I don’t think players are interested in doing that." Whyno noted a handful of players "voiced their concern that revenues aren’t growing enough to compensate for the natural growth of salaries -- and the cap -- over time." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls escrow “a function of the cap." He said that it is "going to be higher when that upper limit on salaries is higher" (AP, 6/16).