NHL Decides Against Opting Out Of Current CBA

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 27: Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks with the media prior to Game One of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the hockey season soon-to-be back in full swing, the last thing fans want to hear about is another work stoppage. Fans could care less about what each side is fighting for as they just want to watch hockey. That is why the decision by the NHL on August 30th not opt-out of the current CBA is very important. Instead of looking for a fight, the league is settling for peace. Even with this stance, that doesn’t mean a work stoppage can’t happen.

NHL Will Not Opt Of Current CBA

The most recent CBA that was ratified in January 2013. It was the longest CBA in league history as both parties entered a 10-year agreement. The current CBA will be expiring on September 15, 2022. However, each party was given an out clause. The NHL could have chosen to opt-out of the CBA on September 1, 2019. Instead, the NHL decided against it. However, all eyes will be on the NHLPA who can choose to opt-out of the CBA on September 15, 2019.

“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. It is our hope that a continued, sustained period of labor peace will enable us to further grow the game and benefit all constituent groups: NHL Players, Clubs, our business partners and, most importantly, our fans.”

In response to what the NHL released, the NHLPA released a statement of their own acknowledging the decision by the league.

“Today the NHL advised the NHLPA that the league will not exercise its early termination right under the CBA,” the NHLPA said in a statement released later on Friday. “The NHLPA now has the same option. We will continue to discuss this matter with players as our September 15 decision approaches.”

What Lies Ahead

For the first time in a long time, the NHL is happy with the current state of the game on and off the ice. However, the NHL and NHLPA have met regularly throughout the off-season to discuss an extension of the CBA. Both sides will meet again on Friday, September 6th. While Commissioner Bettman sees no reason to open up the CBA, there are always issues each side can identify they are unhappy with.

“In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed. This is certainly true from the League’s standpoint, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman added in the statement. 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.”

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Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing about the NHL for Last Word on Hockey. His work includes writing about the New Jersey Devils as well as NHL Notebooks for the Metro and Central Division. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey. As one coach put it "he is the student of the game." When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim coaches a local high school team in New Jersey. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer


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