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NHL encouraged by talks with NHLPA, Commissioner Bettman says

Seeking 'long-term labor peace' with collective bargaining agreement intact for three more seasons

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The NHL is encouraged by its discussions with the NHL Players' Association and hopes to secure labor peace beyond the remaining three seasons of the current NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.

"I think the relationship is in a good place," Commissioner Bettman said following a Board of Governors meeting. "That provides an opportunity for us together to do good things."

The current collective bargaining agreement will run through the 2021-22 season because the NHL and NHLPA this month each opted against triggering a clause in it that would have allowed for the reopening of the agreement following this season. 

The NHL announced its decision Aug. 30. The NHLPA did so Monday.

"We're happy with this decision because we think it's great for the game, for our fans, and it gives us an opportunity to focus on the future without distractions," Commissioner Bettman said. 

 

[RELATED: NHLPA declines to reopen collective bargaining agreement]

 

The League had work stoppages following the expiration of the agreement in 1994, 2004 and 2012. 

"Uninterrupted hockey is great for our fans," Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said.

Commissioner Bettman said the NHL and the NHLPA are having discussions about the future of the game. He didn't rule out the possibility of the agreement being extended.

"I think we're going to continue to work together on a timely basis, whatever that means, to see what we can accomplish together in terms of securing long-term labor peace beyond the three years," the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Bettman also said any modifications to the current agreement in the next three seasons would be a joint decision between the League and the NHLPA. He didn't rule out the possibility for modifications but said he didn't want to speculate regarding what they could be.

"We have the same interests that the players do and that's to make sure that the game is good for all stakeholders, especially including our fans," the Commissioner said.

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