One day after the NHL chose to cancel all games during the first 2 weeks of the regular season, reports have stated that leaders of the NHL held secret meetings on Friday in Toronto. Held at the Players’ Association Office, this hidden meeting with negotiators included Commissioner Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA.
The entire group of negotiators met twice on Friday, during the morning and afternoon, in order to get things moving in a positive direction. Further negotiating meetings will possibly be held next week.
The NHL lockout has already been going on for 4 straight weeks and because of this, 82 scheduled games so far have had to be removed from the schedule, from October 11th to the 24th. This has been the fourth time the NHL has had a lockout within the past 20 years and fans are getting frustrated.
Despite fans’ frustration, deputy commissioner Bill Daly says that the fans deserve better than this and that the entire organization is committed to fixing this problem. The commission is currently struggling with trying to reach an agreement with the teams and their owners.
The lockout was put in place after the NHL business meetings because they cannot decide the best way to split up $3.3 billion that was made in revenues during this past season. While the league wants all players to take a cut on their salaries, the players are asking that their current contracts be honored.
Despite these negotiations going on since June, everyone cannot reach an agreement. According to Daly, because of this lockout, the league has already lost an estimated $100 million and this number will continue to rise if more games end up being cancelled.
As noted by USA Today, the current negotiations have been very much unsuccessful. The NHL originally asked all players if they would be comfortable lowering their share of hockey revenue down to 43% from their current share of 57%. Since players were quite unhappy with this number, negotiators asked players if they would be fine lowering their shares to 49%, with an eventual decline to 47% after 6 years.
The NHLPA also stated that they would be willing to take a smaller cut of current revenues in order to provide additional money to teams that are currently struggling financially.
The NHL has stated that because it came up with the last set of negotiations on September 12th, it is now up to the union to decide on new terms. Regardless, the first 82 games are now cancelled which has hurt revenues, but is also preventing the players from getting their first paycheck.
Additional talks are said to continue over the weekend into next week.