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NHL, Players’ Union End Discussions as Contract Expiration Nears

The National Hockey League and players’ union disbanded negotiations over compensation issues two weeks before the current contract is set to expire.

The talks stalled yesterday when the NHL Players’ Union told the league it would not discuss a reset of player compensation, Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters.

“In light of the fact that they were unwilling to move forward on the economics, there wasn’t much else to discuss,” Bettman said.

Bettman said last month the owners would not operate the 2012-13 season without a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current contract expires Sept. 15.

The two sides are negotiating player compensation and revenue sharing.

“The response that was made to us is that if the players are not prepared to agree to an immediate reset in their aggregate salary levels, that is to say, as we understand it, a meaningful, absolute reduction in the players’ share in dollar terms for next year as compared to last year, that they see no point in discussing or responding to the proposals that we put forward at the meeting today,” union Executive Director Donald Fehr said yesterday.

Both sides said they were willing to continue negotiations.

“Once we get past Sept. 15, I think the dynamic changes,’ Bettman said. “The damage to the business changes the dynamic of the negotiation. So, from our standpoint, we’re hoping to make a deal by Sept. 15.”

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