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NHL still waiting for response to last proposal

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By Tim Campbell

The NHL is still looking for a response to its last proposal made more than a week ago in New York.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Free Press on Thursday he hopes to see something new on the bargaining table soon but doesn’t think it will be the league that comes with the next "new" suggestion.

"I hope so but I wouldn’t expect it’ll be from our side," Daly said. "I think we feel like we’ve moved a lot. We’ve tried to be very responsive to the issues they’ve raised and while they might claim to have made three proposals, it’s really been the exact same proposal three times with some kind of minor changes.

"Their proposals presented on Aug. 14 had this provision for the next three years. They haven’t changed one issue of that. They’re sticking with it, at least for now.

"Our position to them is that we would hope they’d at least have a response to our last proposal, if not a counter-proposal."

The NHL Players' Association has suggested it take a smaller share of future revenue growth — assumed by the players to be approximately seven per cent per year going forward — for those three years, then bounces the percentage back higher in years 4 and 5, to at least 54 per cent.

The players received 57 per cent of hockey-related revenue (HRR) at the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement.

That deal expired late last Saturday and when it did, the NHL locked out its players.

There was no bargaining Thursday, nor is there expected to be any Friday, through the weekend or even Monday, Daly said.

The deputy commissioner was en route to Edmonton for an Alberta Labour Board hearing. The league and the NHLPA are disagreeing over the league’s right to impose a lockout in that province.

"I’m going to Alberta and have a labour board hearing all day tomorrow and had thought perhaps the right people would be Alberta and perhaps we could talk a little bit tomorrow but that’s not going to happen," Daly said about future bargaining.

"We have another non-CBA-specific meeting Monday in Toronto but at a minimum between now and then, I’m sure we’ll talk about schedule."

Already, the NHL has cancelled pre-season games until Sept. 30. The regular season is scheduled to open Oct. 11, but that appears in serious jeopardy heading into this weekend.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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