On Friday, January 25, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference surrounding the NHL All-Star Game and implored his desire for peaceful collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations. Given the multitude of lockouts over negotiations in the past, his comments have instilled cautious optimism throughout the fandom of the league.
Pursuant to the current CBA in effect, the league and players alike have the option to prematurely terminate the agreement as of September 15, 2020, regardless of the technical end date of 2022. With these comments from Bettman as well as the echoing of these peaceful sentiments from NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider, the lack of ongoing tension is promising when compared to the previous negotiation fiascos.
Of course, the league is also in a more agreeably stable system than was the case in recent CBA talks. Back in 2004-2005, the entire season was lost over establishing a hard salary cap. More recently, half of the 2012-2013 season was sacrificed at the expense of lowering players’ revenue share from 57% to 50%.
Other than a general aversion to further pontificating, an additional wrinkle provides further hope that both sides speak veraciously – the implementation of the unnamed Seattle franchise in the 2021-2022 season. With a need to not only generate interest in this new team, but in the league as a whole, neither side likely comes out victorious with another lockout.