The National Hockey League lost almost $100 million from the cancellation of the preseason, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said.
The NHL locked out players Sept. 16 after failing to agree with the National Hockey League Players’ Association on how to split revenue, which reached a record $3.2 billion last season. The league then canceled its preseason exhibition games.
The league and the players’ union made “no progress” in two hours of meetings yesterday, Daly said in a video interview on the NHL website.
“By losing the preseason, we probably have done close to $100 million in damage to the business that’s not going to be recouped,” Daly said. “We’re focused on what we can do to minimize the damage.”
Union Executive Director Donald Fehr disputed the financial impact of the dispute, saying the league failed to take into account expenses that were saved by not putting on the games.
With eight days until the scheduled start of the season, no further talks are planned between the sides. Fehr wants talks to continue on how to divide hockey-related revenue. Daly said the league is close to deciding whether to cancel games at the start of the season.
“You should be constantly talking, even if you’re disagreeing and not making progress,” Fehr said. “You never know when someone will say something to spark an idea that will allow you to progress.”
On Sept. 12, owners offered players 47 percent of hockey-related revenue, with a loss of about $256 million in player salaries next year. Under the labor deal that expired last month, players received 57 percent.
“They came in with a proposal that was onerous, difficult and one that some players found inflammatory,” Fehr said.
Under the union’s plan, should league revenue grow at the same rate as the past 10 years, the players’ share would decrease to 54.3 percent in the first year, then 52.5 percent and 52 percent before rising to 52.3 percent in the fourth year, Fehr said.
Other contentious issues include salary arbitration and the length of unrestricted free agency.