On Sept. 1, the National Hockey League can choose to opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). If the league passes on the opportunity, the players have their shot at exercising the right to opt out on Sept. 19.
Both parties have talked about labour peace and preserving the components of the current CBA that work, but it’s obvious there are a number of major issues the parties will have to work through in order to avoid a third lockout in 15 years.
The primary focus will concern the definition of hockey-related revenue. During the last round of negotiations, we saw a number of changes on that front. Those included (but aren’t limited to) an even split of hockey-related revenue (down from 57 per cent in the prior arrangement), a reduction in maximum contract length, and a cap on salary variance year-to-year through the life of a contract.
While escrow and the definition of hockey-related revenue (including how hockey-related revenue is split among constituents) will consume most of the dialogue during these talks, CBA negotiations offer opportunities to correct or mitigate loophole effects introduced from prior agreements.
I noted two of those above. Minimizing contract length and capping salary variance had wide-ranging effects, but one of the primary objectives of both was to ensure that all contracts between players and teams were signed in good faith. (