With NHL training camps fully back in swing and preseason games underway, the last thing fans want to hear about is labour talks. For now, the hockey world can breathe a sigh of relief as the NHLPA has decided not to re-open the current collective bargaining agreement. This comes after the NHL decided not to re-open the CBA back on Aug. 30.
The NHLPA has decided not use its option to reopen the CBA. The current agreement now runs through Sept. 15, 2022.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 16, 2019
NHL Decides Not To Open CBA
Initially, the NHLPA had a deadline of Sunday to notify the league about their decision. However, the players used a provision in the CBA that allowed them to push the deadline back a day. With the NHLPA’s decision today, the current CBA will expire on Sept. 15, 2022. Had either side decided to reopen the CBA, then the current agreement would have expired on Sept. 15, 2020.
NHLPA Executive director Don Fehr released the following statement:
“While players have concerns with the current CBA, we agree with the League that working together to address those concerns is the preferred course of action instead of terminating the agreement following this season. We have been having discussions with the League about an extension of the CBA and expect that those talks will continue.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement after the NHLPA’s decision:
“We are pleased with the NHL Players’ Association’s decision not to reopen the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We look forward to continuing to work with the NHLPA for the benefit of all stakeholders, especially our fans.”
What the Future Brings
Now that we know the decision by the NHLPA, there is finally labour peace in the hockey world. For too long the NHL and NHLPA have been fighting with each other. Now with the CBA expiring on Sept. 2022, both sides can focus on the game on the ice while still working towards a new agreement.
The NHL and NHLPA have been meeting over the past several days, weeks, and months to negotiate amendments to the current CBA. As well as discuss the framework of what the next CBA will look like. As Bob McKenzie of TSN points out a potential new CBA could give the hockey world labour peace to 2025 or 2026 or maybe even longer.
Of course, it’s never quite as simple as it looks. For the past number of days/weeks/months, the NHL and NHLPA have been negotiating potential amendments to existing CBA and discussing framework/details of a CBA extension that could give us labor peace to 2025, maybe even 2026.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 16, 2019
With a deal in place for the next three seasons, through 2021-22, both sides can breathe easier. However, they will want to continue their cordial negotiations to get a deal done before the deadline. With some major revenue streams coming in via the Seattle expansion, a new U.S. TV deal, and gambling, the last thing the NHL wants to deal with is another work stoppage.
With the game being in a good place and no major issues facing either party, neither side wants hostilities at this point. While things like escrow and international play need to ironed out, neither side wants to risk the loss of more games being missed. Look for more talks to continue throughout the coming weeks and months.
Main Photo: TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Donald and Steve Fehr of the NHLPA walk the red carpet prior to the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Hockey Hall Of Fame & Museum on November 14, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)