With both the National Hockey League and the Players’ Association able to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) this upcoming September, it looks like the two sides will have a chance to talk some things over ahead of time.
The groups will both be in Las Vegas at the Consumers Electronics Show this week, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet. One talking point which the PA is likely to bring up is offering the league an extension of the current CBA.
“Now I’m starting to hear, perhaps, in the next two weeks that the NHL Players’ Association could even table an offer to Gary Bettman and the owners to even extend the CBA,” Kypreos noted. “And, of course, the players know at this point that there’s a lot of things that they won’t get back, but they do have a wish list and one of those things on the wish list is to alleviate some of the financial burden of escrow.”
The fact that the two parties are meeting this early is good news for any hockey fan. The last thing anybody involved in any capacity wants is another lockout. Unfortunately, fans have had to endure three in the last 25 years.
An interesting note heading into these discussions is that International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President Rene Fasel claimed on Saturday that the organization is intrigued by the idea of making the ice surface for international competitions the same size as it is in the NHL. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet believes this move by the IIHF could be strategic in grabbing the NHL’s attention.
“What’s important here is that some people believe this is a bit of an olive branch that’s been extended to the NHL, to the NHL players to try to entice them to come back to Beijing because that’s obviously something the league favours,” Johnston stated. “The previous Games in Nagano, in Turin and in Sochi – the overseas Olympics – with NHL players all had the bigger ice, but the smaller ice over here is what they’re used to.”
With the PA being massive proponents of NHL player involvement in the Olympics, this possible change by the IIHF could make the NHL a little more willing to allow their players to participate. Considering the NHL held out from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, this figures to be one of the key issues that will be discussed at length prior to a deal being reached by the two sides.
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