NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Players' union starts to feel out NHL on contract proposals

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TORONTO -- A day after tabling the remaining elements of its opening contract offer, it was the NHL's turn to listen.

The NHL Players' Association made a number of presentations to owners Thursday, including ones addressing pensions, training camp and ice conditions.

Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, said the two sides were involved in collective discussion and also broke into smaller groups.

"Today was another good day," said the former NHL defenceman. "I think we had a lot of good, open discussion and it was certainly one of the days where we had a lot of player involvement, and to me, that's the most important thing."

Schneider said benefits have not been updated since the 1990s, and training camp issues include the schedule, player testing and the number of pre-season games in which veterans would be expected to participate.

"There are a lot of these issues (where) we have the same common goal. It's (about) coming to agreement and how we get to that goal, and that's a lot of what happened today," he said.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said both sides want the same thing on a number of the issues discussed Thursday.

"On things relative to the game, such as ice conditions, we all want the best ice possible," Bettman said.

Schneider said players are taking a keen interest in several issues.

"We've had guys that are very interested in the retirement benefits. We've had guys that are real interested in supplemental discipline... (and) the core economics of the game," he said. "We have a wide range of players and a wide range of interests."

Negotiations are to resume Monday in New York for the sixth week.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2012 C5

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