Not So Fast: Fehr & NHLPA Rain on NHL's Proposal

It didn’t take long for the NHLPA to slander the latest proposal from the NHL, reinforcing their point that much work is still required before a deal can be completed and the season saved.  After the proposal, which was based around a 50-50 split of all hockey related revenue prompted levels of optimism, the latest out of the player’s association is that, while it’s a good first step, it’s being taken with caution.

Donald Fehr, the NHLPA executive director issued a letter to all players and agents Tuesday night, breaking down the proposal.  Fehr chose to focus on the fact that the owners are still reducing players salaries, albeit in a slightly less obvious fashion.

“Simply put, the owners’ new proposal, while not quite as Draconian as their previous proposals, still represents enormous reductions in player salaries and individual contracting rights. As you will see, at the 5 per cent industry growth rate the owners predict, the salary reduction over six years exceeds $1.6 billion. What do the owners offer in return?”

Fehr also went on to discuss other areas of the new proposals to the players and the entire letter can be seen here, courtesy of TSN.

Both parties have agreed to meet on Thursday to discuss the latest proposal and while it’s not confirmed that the player’s will have a counter offer, Fehr’s summary of the proposal all but tells us one is on the way.

“We do not yet know whether this proposal is a serious attempt to negotiate an agreement, or just another step down the road. The next several days will be, in large part, an effort to discover the answer to that question.”

Perhaps the most disturbing part of Fehr’s letter is in the final few lines where he reminds the players not to be fooled by the NHL decision to go public with the proposal, signalling that this lockout may not be close to ending.

 “Given the enormous concessions players made in the last round, plus 7 years of record revenue reaching $3.3 billion last season, there is no reason for a reduction in the amount the players receive.  The player contracting rights secured in the last negotiations should be, at minimum, maintained.  The overall agreement has to be fair and equitable for both parties. Bargaining is both give and take.”

So there we have it.  The same man that was responsible for the MLB lockout that destroyed the sport’s image and fan base for over a decade, is now threatening to do the same to the NHL.  Some blame the owners, some blame the players and while both parties are likely guilty, you can’t help but feel that Donald Fehr is playing hard ball, ruining any optimistic thoughts that the season could start up by November 1.

As this story continues to break we’ll keep you updated here at Gone Puck Wild.

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