The NHL will not exercise its right to reopen the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement next year, the League announced Friday.
The current CBA, a 10-year agreement that was ratified in January 2013, expires Sept. 15, 2022. But the NHL and the NHL Players' Association each have the option to file in September 2019 to reopen the CBA. That would trigger the expiration of the CBA on Sept. 15, 2020, if the sides do not agree to an extension before then.
The NHL had until Sept. 1 to provide written notice that it is opting out of the final two years of the CBA. Now that the League has declined its option, the NHLPA has until Sept. 15 to file for early termination of the agreement.
"Based on the current state of the game and the business of the game, the NHL believes it is essential to continue building upon the momentum we have created with our Players and, therefore, will not exercise its option to reopen the CBA," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Rather, we are prepared to have the current CBA remain in effect for its full term -- three more seasons through the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. It is our hope that a continued, sustained period of labor peace will enable us to further grow the game and benefit all constituent groups: NHL Players, Clubs, our business partners and, most important, our fans.
"In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed. This is certainly true from the League's standpoint. However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA -- while working with the Players' Association to address our respective concerns -- far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season."
Video: Friedman on NHL opting not to reopen CBA
The League and the NHLPA have met regularly throughout the offseason to discuss a possible extension to the CBA and plan to continue meeting. Each side has said the talks have been productive and cordial.
Even if the NHLPA files by Sept. 15 to reopen the CBA, the sides would have a year before it expires to negotiate some kind of agreement, whether it be a new CBA or pushing back the expiration date of the current CBA.
The NHL has lost games because of work stoppages prior to ratifying the past three CBAs, including losing the entire 2004-05 season and the first three months of 2012-13.
"Today the NHL advised the NHLPA that the league will not exercise its early termination right under the CBA," the NHLPA said in a statement released later on Friday. "The NHLPA now has the same option. We will continue to discuss this matter with players as our September 15 decision approaches."
Video: Daneyko on the NHL deciding to not reopen the CBA