NHL Lockout Update

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

November 9, 2012

It’s beginning to look like the end of the NHL lockout might be in sight. Insider sources claim that the sides finally are engaging in real, productive negotiations. The two issues now dominating the lengthy conversations are revenue sharing, and the NHL’s “make whole” plan to pay players the full value of their contracts.

Revenue sharing, of course, is the backbone of any labor dispute, and the NHL is no different. In the latest scenario, reportedly agreed to by both parties, NHL players will transition from the previous season’s 57% of hockey-related revenue to 50%. The “make whole” issue is a bit more complicated. The NHL has taken the stand that it will repay players with deferred income, but in the league’s latest offer to the NHLPA, those payments would count against players’ future earnings. The players object to what are essentially escrow payments, claiming that they would lose money.

Regardless of when the NHL and the union actually strike a deal, it’s now too late for a full 82-game NHL season to be played. Besides unhappy hockey fans, other losers to date include the cancelled NHL Winter Classic, sporting goods stores on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, sponsors and apparel makers.

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