NEW YORK — Negotiations aimed at establishing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement resumed Wednesday morning at the National Hockey League’s office. It is the first time the sides have met in person since last Friday.
The current CBA expires Sept. 15
The National Hockey League Players’ Association contingent, led by Executive Director Donald Fehr, arrived at 11:35 a.m. ET.
Following the CBA negotiating session, the NHLPA will begin its Executive Board and Negotiating Committee meetings. More than 250 players are expected to be in New York for the two days of meetings.
The NHL’s Board of Governors will also meet Thursday in New York.
In other news Wednesday, the NHLPA said it and at least 16 players of the Montreal Canadiens had filed an application in Montreal on Wednesday with the Quebec Labor Relations Board, asking it to declare that the NHL’s planned lockout is illegal in Quebec.
An emergency hearing on the application is scheduled for Friday morning, at 10:30 a.m. ET, in Montreal.
It’s a waiting game, but this latest move by the NHLPA and members of the Montreal Canadians has an interesting air of hostility to it. The NHLPA isn’t going down without a fight, and they maintain that the only group insisting on the September 15 lockout deadline is the NHL.
“A lockout is very much a choice; no law compels a lockout. The owners seem intent on making that choice, and doing so at the first possible moment… The law allows for the season to start on time under the terms of the existing CBA so long as both sides are willing to do so.” — NHLPA.com
This move also demonstrates how serious the players are about being able to play their season on schedule, with or without a new CBA in place– the NHLPA has started all along that its players will continue to play as long as negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are still in progress. Montreal Canadian defenseman and NHLPA negotiating committee member, Josh Gorges said Monday,
“The players are going to use every tool at our disposal to stop them. Nothing is more disruptive to bargaining than a lockout. Our message to the Quebec and Alberta governments, and to the federal government as well, is that we would hope they realize how important hockey is to this country. Hockey is in our blood. Just as important, hundreds if not thousands of workers and businesses count on hockey for their livelihoods. A lockout will have major impact on them as well. Ultimately, we hope that the governments will not allow themselves to be used as rubber stamps in the owners’ rush to impose a lockout. We hope they will realize what’s at stake here.”
These next few days will be interesting. An expected 250 players in New York for the talks, and still more around the country, wondering when the next time they will hit the ice as a team will be.
You can read more about the union’s attempts to cease the lockout in Canada here.