NEW YORK -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated to the National Hockey League Players' Association on Thursday that the sides must negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and that the League's owners are not prepared to operate under the current CBA past Sept. 15, the date on which the agreement expires.
"I reconfirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months, namely that time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this Collective Bargaining Agreement for another season, so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon," Commissioner Bettman said in remarks after Thursday's negotiating session at the League office. "We believe there is ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal, and that is what we're going to be working toward."
The League made its initial proposal on the core economic issues to the NHLPA on July 13.
According to NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, the Union will respond Tuesday to the NHL's submission with its own proposal on core economic issues. The sides plan to meet in Toronto beginning Monday to continue negotiations.
"Whether you call it a counter-proposal, an alternative proposal, a proposal -- we expect it on Tuesday," Fehr said.
There is also a subcommittee meeting scheduled here this Friday to further discuss player-safety issues.
The roughly two-hour negotiating session Thursday included a presentation by the Players' Association directly related to the NHL's proposal on revenue sharing.
Fehr and Commissioner Bettman indicated the two sides need to bridge a significant gap in regards to revenue sharing. Commissioner Bettman said part of that gap includes "the significance and importance of revenue sharing."
Commissioner Bettman said that while the League is willing to increase its revenue sharing "in a variety of ways that we proposed," revenue sharing is not the key element of the negotiations for the League. He said that the owners' fundamental proposal "relates to the fact that we need to be paying out less in player costs."
"We're not close on that issue (revenue sharing)," Commissioner Bettman added, "and frankly revenue sharing is part of the bigger economic picture."
Fehr said the Union indicated to the NHL that it is not in favor of the revenue-sharing model combined with player salary reductions as outlined by the owners in their July 13 proposal.
"Let me just put it this way, there is a meaningful gulf there," Fehr said.
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