The National Hockey League reached a consensus on Thursday with several member nations of the International Ice Hockey Federation for a new Player Transfer Agreement that could be as long as seven years and, at minimum, will be four years, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com.
The Player Transfer Agreement still has to be ratified by the League's Board of Governors. Daly said the Board should vote by the end of next week. Daly said Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany are the national federations which have signed off on the new Agreement.
Daly added that members from the Russian federation said they would take the framework for the new transfer agreement to their board for consideration. The NHL has not had a transfer agreement with the Russian federation since 2004, but a Memorandum of Understanding that requires both the NHL and Kontinental Hockey League to honor signed contracts is in place.
"We negotiated the proposal with the Swedish federation and we presented that as a proposal to the other national federations in the IIHF [on Thursday]," Daly said during a phone interview from Stockholm, where he is taking part in the international meetings. "I think there was widespread support for them joining that agreement so we would have one agreement going forward.
"So, from our perspective we basically have an agreement with everybody except the Russians," he continued. "The Russians committed to giving it consideration and coming back to us. We obviously have to take it to our Board for them to consider -- and, hopefully, approve -- in the near future."
Daly said he isn't sure if the NHL will be able to enter into a Player Transfer Agreement with the Russians. He called it "an ongoing discussion."
"There is no level of expectation really, at this point," Daly said. "Obviously the KHL and its clubs represent somewhat different issues, but we opened further dialogue with them both on an individual basis and in a group basis, and we hope to continue that dialogue."
Daly said part of the Player Transfer Agreement includes a joint cooperation from the countries to participate in a World Cup of Hockey, the details of which will be announced at a later date, provided the NHL's Board of Governors approves the transfer agreement.
NHL players participated in a World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004.
"We talked about the World Cup and that is included in the terms of our Player Transfer Agreement and the [anticipation] that we will cooperate on something like the World Cup of Hockey," Daly said. "It's obviously something we have been talking about with the [NHL] Players' Association, and I think we have a conceptual understanding with them that we should be in a position to play in World Cups and announce them soon."
In addition to the length of the potential new Player Transfer Agreement, another key is that it is universal with all the countries in agreement.
"It's not really different from what we had in the past, although what we had in the past we did on a country-by-country basis," Daly said. "What I anticipate is this agreement will be potentially one agreement where participating countries will sign on for the one agreement."
If the Board of Governors approves the Player Transfer Agreement, Daly said it will be the first time the League has had a deal with the Swiss, Czechs and French.
"This is not a done deal until it's ratified by our Board of Governors, but to the extent we come to closure and we get approval from the Board it is a significant improvement from where we have been," Daly said. "Plus, a big thing, from our perspective, is it's a multi-year agreement that could be as long as seven years and, at a minimum, it's four years."