The NHL doesn’t want to see another lockout within the next three seasons.
The league announced Friday that it will not utilize its right to reopen the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) next year.
After the previous CBA expired, the NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) negotiated a new deal that resulted in the 2012-13 season beginning in January 2013 instead of October 2012.
The 10-year agreement that was reached as a result of the latest lockout expires Sept. 15, 2022. However, both the NHL and NHLPA have the option to file in September 2019 to reopen it, according to Tom Gulitti of NHL.com.
"Based on the current state of the game and the business of the game, the NHL believes it is essential to continue building upon the momentum we have created with our Players and, therefore, will not exercise its option to reopen the CBA," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Rather, we are prepared to have the current CBA remain in effect for its full term — three more seasons through the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.”
"In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed,” Bettman continued. “This is certainly true from the League's standpoint. However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA — while working with the Players' Association to address our respective concerns — far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season."
According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, the NHL and NHLPA have met a number of times throughout the summer. Furthermore, he believes it “would have been rather shocking to see the owners opt out” and has always been intrigued as to whether or not the players will exercise their right to reopen.
With the league announcing its decision, the NHLPA now has until Sept. 15 to file for early termination of the agreement - if they choose to do so. However, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, both sides can agree to move that deadline to a later date if necessary. They plan to meet in Chicago on Wednesday.
The NHLPA released the following statement shortly after the NHL submitted theirs.
Thankfully, from the fans’ perspective, both sides said their talks have been productive as of late. Furthermore, if the NHLPA decides they do want to reopen the CBA, there would be a year before it actually expires for a new agreement of some kind to come to fruition, according to Gulitti.
That new agreement could either be a new CBA or the collective decision to push back the expiration date of the current one.
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