NHL Commended For Finding Labor Peace Amid Financial Uncertainty
The NHL and NHLPA are close to finalizing a new CBA that would guarantee labor peace through the '25-26 season, as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr "found sensible solutions to shared problems without resorting to any of the hostility or grandstanding these negotiations are typically known for," according to Chris Johnston of SPORTSNET.ca. They and their respective leadership teams "started meeting out of the spotlight last summer before recalibrating on the fly and piecing together the framework for this agreement amid a health crisis that poses a significant threat to their industry and many others." That "required the CBA to be negotiated on a parallel track to agreements governing intensive return-to-play protocols and the location of hub cities." Johnston: "Looking back now, it all seems so orderly." But that "belies the fact it was a tangled unpredictable mess when the season was put on pause in March." Getting to the stage where a restart was possible "required a complex rethinking of the NHL's economic system." Difficult days "demanded a different approach," and it has "greatly increased the odds we'll soon emerge from a paused season with the chance to see players compete for the Stanley Cup as a result" (SPORTSNET.ca, 7/6).
POSITIVES FOR BOTH SIDES: WFAN-AM’s Boomer Esiason noted the players "understand the realities in the NHL," and they "got a little bit out of it and it gives a little bit of certainty to the league." WFAN-AM’s Jerry Recco: “I thought the fact that the negotiation looks like they might have something without killing each other or having a strike or lockout could be big news for the league” (“Boomer and Gio,” CBSSN, 7/7).