NEW YORK — The NHL has announced it will not exercise its option to re-open the current collective bargaining agreement early.
The league had the right to re-open the CBA until Sunday. It advised the NHL Players’ Association of its decision on Friday.
“Based on the current state of the game and the business of the game, the NHL believes it is essential to continue building upon the momentum we have created with our players and, therefore, will not exercise its option to reopen the CBA,” league commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Rather, we are prepared to have the current CBA remain in effect for its full term.”
The NHL Players’ Association now has until Sept. 15 to decide whether or not it wants to opt out of the final two years of the deal, which was signed in 2013 and is scheduled to run through the 2021-22 season.
The original 10-year deal signed after the last lockout included the opt-out clause after eight years for both the owners and players.
If the players decide to opt out, the league could face another work stoppage next fall.
NHL players went on strike in 1992, and owners have locked the players out on three separate occasions since.
A chunk of the 1994-95 season was lost due to a lockout before the entire 2004-05 campaign was cancelled.
The current agreement ended the lockout that reduced the 2012-13 season to a 48-game schedule.
“In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed,” Bettman said. “However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA — while working with the Players’ Association to address our respective concerns — far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season.”
The Canadian Press