Report: NHL, NHLPA set to resume talks Thursday

TORONTO (Ticker) - The NHL and the Players Association apparently will engage in another round of talks.

According to a report on TSN of Canada’s website, collective bargaining negotiations between the league and the Players Association are scheduled to resume Thursday in Toronto.

The website also indicated that two additional bargaining sessions are scheduled for May 9-10.

Thursday’s meeting would be the first since April 19, when the sides met for approximately 6 1/2 hours with no progress reported toward reaching a new CBA.

On April 4, the union rejected a pair of proposals by the league, both of which included a salary cap and one introducing linkage of players’ salaries to league revenue. At that time, the NHLPA countered with a plan involving a floating team-by-team payroll with a floor of $30 million and a ceiling of $50 million.

The union reportedly has told its members anyone electing to compete as a replacement player during the labor dispute would have to give back to the NHLPA all benefits the he had received during the current work stoppage.

In turn, the league filed an “unfair labor practice” complaint - their second such grievance - against the union with the United States National Labor Relations Board.

The league filed a third “unfair labor practice” grievance against the NHLPA, according to the website Monday. The latest charge is over the Players Association’s efforts to apply for certified union status in British Columbia and Quebec.

The league reportedly has maintained that efforts to obtain certified union status on behalf of players on the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks is an unlawful attempt to withdraw from the “multi-player bargaining process.”

In March, the league officially canceled the 2005 draft, which was slated to take place in Ottawa in June. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wiped out the 2004-05 campaign on February 16, making the NHL the first major North American sports league to have an entire season canceled due to a labor dispute.

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Updated Monday, May 2, 2005