NHL Asks for NHLPA Proposal After First Labor Talks in a Week

The National Hockey League held a 90-minute meeting with the NHL Players Association during which it asked the union to make a proposal detailing its position on economic issues for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Last night’s negotiations were the first between the NHL and the NHLPA since Nov. 11.

NHL players have been locked out since Sept. 16, the day after the old labor contract expired, and the league has canceled all regular-season games through Nov. 30. The two sides, which have been unable to agree on proposed changes to player contract rights and the sharing of hockey-related revenue, will probably meet again today.

“We’ve made a couple comprehensive proposals in a row,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told reporters. “We’d like to know where they are on all of the issues. We asked them to think about putting together a comprehensive proposal for us to consider. That’s where it stands.”

Daly and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman represented the league’s negotiating team yesterday along with Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, and owners Ted Leonsis of the Washington Capitals, Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames and Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins.

Daly said the NHL wants to “see where we are and how close we might be on economics before we are necessarily tackling where exactly we are on player contracting.”

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and special counsel Steve Fehr headed yesterday’s union negotiating team that also included 18 players, NHL.com said.

The NHL has canceled a total of 327 regular-season games since the start of the lockout. Among them is the annual Winter Classic scheduled for Jan. 1. Daly said the league would have to make a decision on canceling more games if an agreement on a new labor contract isn’t reached soon.

“I understand there is a lot of frustration in the process,” Daly said. “I’m frustrated in terms of being where we are and not playing hockey.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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