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NEW YORK: Representatives of the NHL and the NHL Players Association met yesterday to talk about the league’s latest proposal to strike a contract deal and salvage a shortened season.
NHL.com reported yesterday’s informal talks lasted two and a half hours and that the sides planned to meet again today.
Team owners have already wiped out 625 games through January 14, just over half the planned schedule that was to have started in October, and vow they will not stage a season with less than 48 games per team.
That means a deal by mid-January is essential if the league isn’t to lose the entire season to the lockout that began in September.
On Friday, league officials confirmed they had made a new “comprehensive” contract proposal to players.
Bill Daly, deputy commissioner declined to go into specifics, but the proposal was reported to include a six-year limit on player contracts -- up from the five years the league had sought previously -- along with movement toward the players on issues including year-to-year salary variance and contract buy-out regulations.
Owners locked out players after the expiration of a contract that was reached after the 2004-2005 season was wiped out by a similar bitter fight over finances.
Players, who were paid 57 percent of $3.3bn in revenues under the old deal, have moved closer to the 50-50 split found in other North American sports across the world.
However, owners to increase the amount of shared revenue from strong teams to bolster the fortunes of owners pleading poverty under the previous system.
The NHL had been planning to ring in 2013 with a week-long hockey festival in Detroit culminating with an Original Six game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The match would have taken place in front of record crowd of over 110,000 fans at Michigan Stadium for a festive treat to the fans. AGENCIES