Reporting Tim Kephart
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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Florida Panthers fans hoping to see the team take the ice this season got a major wakeup call Tuesday when the NHL owners crafted a new collective bargaining proposal that mirrored closely that of the NBA and other sports.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sadi the new proposal splits hockey-related revenue (HRR) 50-50 between the players and the owners and that a full 82 game season starting November 2 could be played.
The NHL went a step further on Wednesday and published the entire collective bargaining agreement on its website. The deal would be for six years with a mutual option for a seventh season. The deal also promises to ensure players receive all of the money they’ve been promised on existing contracts.
The NHL will set the salary cap at $59.9 million as part of the deal, but the league would allow teams to go up to $70 million in a transition era. Entry-level contracts would be limited to two years and the NHL will end “lifetime” contracts, such as ones signed for 15 years by some players in recent years.
NHL player Steve Montador told CSNChicago.com that hockey-related revenue must be defined clearer and that the changes to rookie contracts may be a sticking point.
NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr said that the offer would still see reductions in player salaries. Fehr also expressed skepticism over the players receiving deferred compensation counting against HRR and other areas.
The NHLPA and NHL are scheduled to meet again on Thursday and the NHLPA could bring a new counter-proposal to the table at that time. While the NHL put a deadline of October 25 for a full regular-season to be played, the fact that they haven’t cancelled any more games yet is a positive sign in the ongoing labor dispute.