NHL, union get back to bargaining with mediators

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
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The NHL wants to increase eligibility for free agency to 28 years of age or eight seasons of service, up from 27 years or seven seasons. The league has also proposed adding a year of service for salary arbitration eligibility, hiking it from 1-4 to 2-5 years of service, depending on the age a player signs.

On Oct. 16, the NHL proposed a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue, down from the players' 57 percent portion of $3.3 billion last season. With guaranteed contracts likely to push the players' share over the halfway mark at the start of the next deal, management wants that money to come out of future years to bring the overall percentage down to an even split over the length of an agreement.

Players previously had proposed they receive a guaranteed amount of income each year.

Fehr said players proposed they get $393 million over the length of the deal, while the NHL is at $211 million. Owners want a seven-year deal, which the union says is too long because less than half the current players will be active by the last season.

This is the league's third lockout since 1994. The first was settled on Jan. 11 and the last one led to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announcing the cancellation of the 2004-05 season on Feb. 15. That marked the only time a major professional North American sports league lost an entire season because of a labor dispute.

This lockout, which reached its 74th day Wednesday, has already forced the cancellation of all games through Dec. 14, the New Year's Day Winter Classic, and All-Star Weekend that was slated for Columbus, Ohio, in January.

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