TORONTO -- After two days of negotiations focused on the core economic issues that are essential to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the negotiating committees from the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association spent several hours Thursday discussing topics not related to economic issues.
Among the hockey issues discussed in subcommittee sessions were regulations on training camp, discipline, ice conditions, and travel.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also said the lawyers for both sides met to discuss ongoing information requests and they held a brief meeting on legal issues involved with a new CBA.
"We've been making progress on those issues from the start," Daly said. "I don't think that's where this CBA is going to get cut or not. We have a lot of common ground in those areas and we've been talking about that for a while now."
Unrestricted free agent defenseman Chris Campoli, who spoke on behalf of the Union, said the negotiating session was cordial and included a good discussion.
"There is so much to cover and there are different subcommittees to hit every area if you will," Campoli said. "So, this is a different area. They're all important equally. Every issue is important to the players and we're involved in them all. As you can see, we're here today working with them again and things went well."
The negotiations on the core economic issues are expected to resume in Toronto next Wednesday, when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr return to the bargaining table. Neither was present Thursday as Fehr travelled to Chicago for regional player meetings and Commissioner Bettman returned to New York.
The Union made its initial economic proposal Tuesday, approximately a month after the NHL owners made their initial economic proposal. Bettman said Wednesday that after analyzing the Union's proposal it is clear that a wide gap still remains on where the two sides stand on the economic issues, which include hockey-related revenue, revenue sharing, and rules governing player contracts.
The current CBA expires Sept. 15. Bettman has stated that the owners are not prepared to operate another season under the terms of the current CBA.
"I don't think anybody is looking forward to a work stoppage and we want to do everything we can to avoid it," Daly said. "I think we're committed to doing everything we can and working hard to avoid it. That's where we are."
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