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NHL talks need to resume ASAP: Fehr

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NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr wants to get back to the negotiating table with the league ASAP.

The NHL lockout hit the six-day mark on Friday, but with no formal talks scheduled Fehr said he was hopeful those discussions could heat up again next week.

"I hope it will be sometime next week," said Fehr, speaking on TSN 1290 Friday afternoon. "We’re waiting for them to be in a position to do that. They’ve been doing other things and so hopefully we’ll be back at it next week. It’s up to them."

NHL training camps were scheduled to open on Friday, but across North America players instead gathered for informal on-ice sessions. Others continued the exodus overseas to European leagues.

In the meantime, the two sides aren’t even chatting as they cannot seem to agree on the most fundamental issue. The NHL wants to slice the players’ share of hockey-related revenue down from 57 per cent; the players want the teams to consider sharing that hockey-related revenue among themselves.

"We think that the proposal the players have put forward is a clear road map to a fair and equitable deal," Fehr said. "We said that as revenues grow the players will take a much lower share of future revenues, that means their share is going to fall toward 50 per cent. The pundits have said that’s what the owners are interested in -- the owners haven’t said that, but that’s what some other people have said. We said secondly there needs to be a different form of revenue sharing that is targeted to the teams that need it to set up a plan so that they can hopefully work their way out of these difficulties. We have said, third, that if there are real problems out there we assume that some of the higher-revenue clubs will be willing to share and provide some additional revenue-sharing assistance.

"And, fourth, if there’s going to have to be sacrifice after seven years of record revenues and the enormous concessions the players made last time, more than $3 billion over the life of this agreement, that there has to be some other costs somewhere the owners could limit or cut. But we haven’t got very much traction from the owners on those things."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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