PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.
--While the Board of Governors has given Commissioner Gary Bettman the authority to realign the NHL into four conferences based primarily on geography, the intention is still for the League to get the consent of the National Hockey League Players' Association before creating a schedule for the 2012-13 season.
Realignment can be viewed as a rule change, which would require a discussion with the PA, said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday after the two-day Board of Governors gathering adjourned.
Daly stressed, though, that the League does not anticipate any push back from the NHLPA and the intention remains for the new alignment and balanced schedule to be in place for the start of the 2012-13 season.
"(Realignment) would be along the lines of a rule change, that could be interpreted along the lines of a change in terms and conditions of employment, and for that we need to go to the Players' Association and they need to consent or not; but they can't withhold their consent unreasonably," Daly said. "I don't anticipate there are going to be any issues."
Daly said the timetable to receive consent from the PA is "relatively short."
"Obviously we have a schedule to make, so in the next couple of weeks I would hope," he added.
Daly also said that roughly a month ago the NHL received a letter from the Players' Association stating its desire to be part of the realignment process. The letter did not contain any concerns the PA may have, but Daly said he talked to NHLPA Special Advisor Mathieu Schneider
twice in the week leading up to the Board of Governors meetings.
"(Realignment) would be along the lines of a rule change, that could be interpreted along the lines of a change in terms and conditions of employment, and for that we need to go to the Players' Association and they need to consent or not; but they can't withhold their consent unreasonably. I don't anticipate there are going to be any issues." -- Bill Daly
He characterized the PA's input on realignment as "relevant issues, all of which were taken into consideration by the Board (on Monday)."
Prior to the Board of Governors meetings, the League shared its realignment proposals with the players -- both the radical four-conference alignment that was adopted and the simpler Winnipeg one-for-one swap with Detroit or Columbus.
The League even invited the Players' Association to make its own proposals, but Daly said it chose not to. The League, though, did share the association's views with the Board of Governors on Monday before realignment went to a vote.
"Obviously if we feel they're withholding their consent unreasonably we have remedies under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but I don't even want to go there because I don't anticipate any issues," Daly said.
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