New York, NY–
A tentative deal on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement has been reached between the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association.
The next stage is documentation and ratification of the deal with the start date and number of games in the 2012-13 season still to be announced depending on how long the final process takes.
“We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed to reporters early Sunday morning. “”I want to thank Don Fehr. We still have more work to do, but it’s good to be at this point.”
According to TSN Hockey Analyst Aaron Ward and TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, the agreement features the following elements:
– The league coming off their demand for a $60 million cap in Year 2, meeting the NHLPA’s request to have it at $64.3 million – which was the upper limit from last year’s cap. The salary floor in Year 2 will be $44 million.
– The 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.
– The salary variance on contracts from year to year cannot vary more than 35 per cent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent of the highest year.
– A player contract term limit will be seven years and eight years for a team signing its own player.
– The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated.
– Supplemental discipline for players in on-ice incidents will go through NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan first, followed by an appeal process that would go through Bettman. For suspensions of six or more games, a neutral third party will decide if necessary.
– Revenue sharing among teams will spread to $200 million. Additionally, an NHLPA-initiated growth fund of $60 million is included.
Also, a decision on NHL participation at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be made outside of the new CBA. While it is likely that the league will participate, the IIHF and IOC will have discussions with the NHL and Players’ Association.
Both sides met face-to-face along with federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh for 16 straight hours from Saturday afternoon through the early hours of Sunday morning to get the deal done. The two sides spent Friday in separate rooms while Beckenbaugh went back and forth to each group searching for middle ground on the unresolved issues between the two sides.
Depending on when a new CBA is reached, the league – according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun – has 50-game and 48-game schedules drawn up. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said a regular season schedule of at least 48 games must begin by Jan. 19. The existing 2012-13 NHL schedule was already canceled through Jan. 14.
The NHL and NHLPA had been without a CBA since the previous one expired just before midnight on Sept. 15.