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NHL, Union Labor Talks Resume as Contract Expiration Date Nears

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Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The National Hockey League and its players’ union resumed discussions in New York as they seek to reach a labor agreement before the current contract expires Sept. 15.

The two sides met yesterday, John Dellapina, a spokesman for the NHL, said in an e-mail.

“We’d like to make a deal,” league Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a video on NHL.com. “I know it’s difficult when every breath we take is being chronicled, but there is an ebb and a flow to collective bargaining negotiations and sometimes it makes sense to get together, and sometimes it makes sense to take a deep breath.”

The meeting between Bettman and union head Don Fehr at the league’s headquarters marked the first talks since Sept. 1.

“The process is going to continue,” Fehr told reporters. “There really isn’t much else to say at this point.”

He said the meetings were held “to try and find a way to bridge the gap, that’s always the intent.”

Bettman said last month the owners wouldn’t operate the 2012-13 season without a new collective bargaining agreement. The season is set to begin on Oct. 11, about three weeks after training camps open.

The two sides are negotiating player compensation and revenue sharing.

The NHL’s most recent proposal asked the players to accept 46 percent of the league’s hockey-related revenue over six years, down from 57 percent in the current deal. The NHL originally proposed that the players accept a 43 percent share.

The union countered the league’s original offer with a plan on Aug. 14 to cut its share of hockey related revenue by between $465 million and $800 million during the next three seasons, depending on league growth. That proposal, which was rejected by the NHL, didn’t include an elimination of the cap on salaries and would increase revenue sharing to as much as $250 million a year to help financially less-stable clubs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

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

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