A possible lockout is on the horizon as the National Hockey League season edges closer and league officials and the player’s union has not come to an agreement.
The two parties are now communicating with one another. However, no new sessions for negotiating have been scheduled for the end of the week. On Saturday, Gary Bettman the Commissioner of the league is scheduled to announce a lockout of NHL players. That would mark the fourth time since 1992 that there has been a work stoppage.
Late Thursday, Bill Daly the deputy commissioner of the league spoke to Steve Fehr the special counsel and brother of Donald Fehr the union executive director. However, nothing was discussed about a return to the negotiating table. On Saturday, at midnight, the league’s contract expires and on September 21, training camps are set to begin with the season opening on October 11.
Bettman said he was clear to all involved that a collective bargaining contract had to be in place to move forward. The league, said Bettman, could not and was not willing to move forward to start another season under the status quo.
At another hotel nearby in Manhattan, players were meeting with solidarity evident, but optimism was not. The last time the league had a work stoppage the entire season for 2004-05 was cancelled. That was only agreed upon when the players agreed to a roll back of salaries and a salary cap.
Players said they were not optimistic, but they know things can take a turn for the better very fast. Bettman said that after watching the lockouts of football and basketball last year, management in the NHL is determined to win economic gains, even if a work stoppage is forced.