Reporting Tim Kephart
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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Florida Panthers fans may need to become Miami Dolphins or Miami Heat fans soon. The NHL is set to withdraw its latest collective bargaining agreement to the players if the NHL Players Association doesn’t accept it by the end of the day Thursday, according to ESPN.com.
The ESPN report said the league will formally take the deal back and then decide on where to go from there. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com that the deal will be pulled because it was a proposal “to save 82 games.”
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said the NHL’s move was expected and that it is a “standard approach” to collective bargaining, according to ESPN.com.
“It takes two to negotiate,” Fehr told ESPN. “They seem to be really good at imposing deadlines and issuing ultimatums and having lockouts. It seems to be something they’re well practice at.”
The two sides aren’t even able to agree to further talks at the present time. The NHLPA said it offered to restart talks with the NHL, but the league declined. The NHL said it would have been able to hold a complete season if a deal can be struck by November 2.
The dispute is over how to divide up the roughly $3.3 billion in hockey-related revenue the league brings in. The owners and players are likely to split the revenue at 50/50 when an eventual deal gets done, but the question is over how to pay the current contracts.
Players received roughly 57 percent of hockey-related revenue in the former collective bargaining agreement. The owners had originally sought to severely cut back on that number, but backed down to 50 percent in the offer that’s likely to be withdrawn Thursday night.
The problem gets bigger as each game gets cancelled. The league will lose revenue with each game lost and will likely seek to recoup the losses in the collective bargaining agreement.
Without an agreement, the league is likely to cancel more games as early as Friday. ESPN.com said games through the month of November are likely to be cancelled.
The NHL is no stranger to lockouts/work stoppages. The league lost an entire season to a lockout just a few years ago and has lost more than 1,700 games to work stoppages since 1992.