Gary Bettman and the NHL proposed a new collective bargaining agreement to the NHL Players Association in Toronto this morning. The proposed labor deal includes an 82 game regular season that will commence on November 2nd, meaning hockey fans won’t miss a second of action this year. The distribution of Hockey Related Revenue, undoubtedly the most important element of the NHL’s offer, has changed significantly since the last series of meetings between the two sides. The league has given back 3% of HRR to the players in the proposed CBA, offering to meet the NHLPA at a 50-50 split of all revenue.
This is the first sign of any progress towards ratifying a new CBA since negotiations stalled out on August 31st, so things are definitely looking good for hockey fans. The NHL’s proposal will expedite the negotiation process from here on out, as previous meetings between the two sides were essentially formalized testing grounds. Before today, labor negotiations consisted of a give and take between both sides, as the two parties felt out how much the other was willing to give up in order to preserve a season. There’s no question that the NHL’s proposal will put the league in the driver’s seat in terms of public opinion. The deal seems extremely reasonable for both sides and, if Donald Fehr ultimately rejects it, hockey fans are guaranteed to turn on him.