NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Players vote on ditching NHLPA

'Disclaimer' balloting started Thursday

  • Print

NEW YORK -- Less than a day after letting a self-imposed deadline pass to declare a "disclaimer of interest," NHL players began voting to restore their executive board's authority to dissolve the union.

The NHLPA's membership began voting on the disclaimer at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to a source. It will be conducted over a 48-hour period. The first vote, held over five days last month, passed overwhelmingly. Should the same thing happen again and the NHLPA elects to notify the league it is disclaiming, it would open the door for players to file antitrust lawsuits.

Related Items

The new disclaimer vote was part of a busy Thursday that saw much more action away from the bargaining room than in it. The NHLPA also filed its statement of defence with the district court in New York, arguing the lawsuit the NHL filed last month should be dismissed because it was brought forward for "strategic reasons."

The league had asked the court to rule on the legality of the lockout in a move considered to be a pre-emptive strike to a potential "disclaimer of interest" from the NHLPA. The union had until Jan. 7 to make a response and filed its paperwork with the court a few days early.

Against that backdrop, the sides only met for about an hour on Thursday afternoon -- a departure from more frequent negotiations in recent days. NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr led a group of players and staff into the session with U.S. federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh while his brother Don stayed out of talks. It was unclear when negotiations would resume.

A good stretch of bargaining this week has produced some progress toward ending the labour dispute, including an apparent agreement between the sides to allow each team up to two compliance buyouts prior to the 2013-14 season. Those would allow teams to terminate player contracts without being penalized against the salary cap, although the buyout amounts would count against the players' overall share in revenue.

The sides had also secured agreement on a 20 per cent yearly salary variance in contracts, an improvement from the NHL's previous demand of 10 per cent.

However, the salary cap range for the 2013-14 season -- the first full one under the new CBA -- remained a significant hurdle, according to sources. The union is seeking a $65-million cap and a $44-million floor. The league has proposed an upper limit of $60 million with a lower limit of $44 million.

The biggest concern for players is lowering the cap by so much in the transition to a 50-50 split of revenue will result in a huge dispersal of talent.

"It's an arbitrary number that they've come up with," Canucks forward Manny Malhotra said Thursday in Vancouver. "Logistically, there's no sense to lowering it that much. We've come off our stance (of $67.5 million) and offered a $65-million cap to bring that number down. But a $60-million cap would just mean guys who ordinarily wouldn't be bought out or traded would be bought out or traded.

"So you're messing not just with the system, but you're messing with guys' lives. Guys have to move around, move families around, that normally wouldn't have to. It's really a non-starter for us. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever."

There is also lingering disagreement over who would shoulder the financial liability in a switch to a defined-benefit pension plan for players.

"It's a very complicated issue," commissioner Gary Bettman said early Thursday morning. "The number of variables and the number of issues that have to be addressed by people who carry the title actuary or pension lawyer are pretty numerous and it's pretty easy to get off track.

"But that's something that we understand is important to the players and if we can get the issues resolved we're hopeful we can satisfy the players on that issue but that's still a work in progress."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 4, 2013 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Maurice Leggett on his three interceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Weather standup. Sundog. Refraction of light through ice crystals which caused both the sun dog and and fog along McPhillips Road early Wednesday morning. 071205.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google