New York, NY – Representatives from the National Hockey League and its players association met for three hours on Wednesday, without significant progress in resolving a labor dispute which threatens to force a lockout at the end of the week.
Both sides were able to submit new proposals aimed at keeping negotiations alive, but there is no indication that a new deal is imminent.
"We made it clear in presenting (our) proposal that it was intended to lead to a deal before the weekend, before the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that, if in fact, a deal is not achievable, what we proposed would be off the table," stated NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
TSN of Canada reported in late August that the league's original offer, which was a six-year agreement, was meant to reduce the NHL's financial demands. Players were in line to see a gradual reduction in revenue share percentage, according to the report.
The first proposal by the NHL was to decrease the players' revenue share from 57 percent to 43, but TSN reported the percentage would drop to as low as 49.6 in 2014-15 before coming up to 50 percent for the final three years of the deal.
That has been amended, according to RDS. The league's offer today stated that players were to receive 49 percent of hockey related revenues in the first year of the deal, before that number dropped slightly to 47 percent.
"They made a responsive proposal. It obviously has to be studied. We hope that they will be studying our proposal further. It is too early to say whether or this is going to represent any meaningful progress," said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
While details of the players' proposal have not been revealed, Fehr added in his press conference that the union is prepared to see a drop in their cut of revenues provided that large market clubs are willing to provide whatever assistance is necessary to keep smaller teams viable.
That practice, known as revenue sharing, has gained a foothold in the other three major professional sports in the United States.
Despite both sides inching closer together on the issue of how to properly split revenues, the NHLPA is refusing to budge on the idea of another salary rollback in light of continued record revenue growth the NHL claims since 2005. Players agreed to a 24 percent reduction seven years ago, and the league is asking for another significant decrease this time around.
The expiration of the current CBA is midnight this Saturday. Bettman has stated that the players will be locked out if a new deal is not struck by then.