The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 31, 2012

NHL, union likely to return to table

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the new offer weren’t being discussed publicly.

The NHL maintained the deferred payment amount of $300 million it offered in its previous proposal, an increase from an earlier offer of $211 million. The initial $300 million offer was pulled after negotiations broke off this month.

The latest proposal is for 10 years, running through the 2021-22 season, with both sides having the right to opt out after eight years.

If this offer doesn’t quickly lead to a new collective bargaining agreement, the next round of cuts could claim the entire schedule.

The NHL is the only North American professional sports league to cancel a season because of a labor dispute, losing the 2004-05 campaign to a lockout. A 48-game season was played in 1995 after a lockout stretched into January.

It is still possible this dispute could eventually be settled in the courts if the sides can’t reach a deal on their own.

The NHL filed a class-action suit this month in U.S. District Court in New York in an effort to show its lockout is legal. In a separate move, the league filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, contending bad-faith bargaining by the union.

Those moves were made because the players’ association took steps toward potentially filing a “disclaimer of interest,” which would dissolve the union and make it a trade association. That would allow players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL.

Union members voted overwhelmingly to give their board the power to file the disclaimer by Wednesday. If that deadline passes, another authorization vote could be held to approve a later filing.

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