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NHLPA offers new proposal to end lockout; Donald Fehr transcript

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players'

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Association, speaks to the media following talks after meeting with the NHL. (Nov. 9, 2012) (Credit: AP)

I may have a full text of the the union's proposal to post here later, but for now, here's the news:

The NHLPA this morning presented a "comprehensive" five-year proposal aimed at ending the NHL lockout, according to the union's executive director, Donald Fehr.

The proposal, which was made at the NHL's midtown offices, includes a formula for dividing future revenues on a percentage basis, rather than on hard dollars, which is what the league had requested as the basis for further talks to break the stalemate, which has entred its third month. The NHL took a recess to review the plan and will resume talks sometime after 1:30 p.m., Fehr said. "It's an effort about as good as we can do to try to see if an agreement can be reached."

Fehr said that rather than being $900 million to $1 billion apart on the players share, according to Commissioner Gary Bettman, the figure is now $182 million over the life of the proposed deal. He said the players have moved "far more than halfway" toward the NHL and now the league has to move toward them "if they want to reach an agreement.". No league representatives spoke after the morning session.

It appears this is clearly another concession on the part of the players, who have lost several paychecks, although the NHL's sense of the numbers Fehr cited was not immediately available. On the key player contracting issues, however, it is believed the players held ground on free agency, contract limits and arbitration.

A quick transcript of Fehr's remarks follows:

“As you probably know from some stuff that apparently leaked out last night or this morning, the players made a new proposal today. It was comprehensive. It’s an effort about as good as we can do to try and see if there’s an agreement that can be reached. Gary had said that he thought after our last proposals that we were $900 million or $1 billion apart. We never thought that was true. But in any event, we have taken the lockout specifically into (account) and the proposal essentially has a difference of $182 million in the players’ share over five years between our proposal and theirs. We’ve moved far more than halfway, and our expectation is the NHL’s going to be willing to meet us if they want to reach an agreement. We’ve moved in their direction previously on a couple of the player contracting issues; the rest are very, very, very important to the players. What we did was give them the proposal. They indicated they’re gonna have a response to us a little later on. I think the target time for getting back together is around 1 o’clock, whether it’ll be then or a little before or a little after, I don’t know yet. So we’re gonna go back to our office and see you all in a little bit.”

“First of all, we never talk about our internal discussions. But you can rest assured that the views of all players are taken into account. Having said that, this proposal – we said when we made the last proposal that we would be prepared to take the effects of the lockout into account if we got an agreement on the structure. They didn’t want to do that. They wanted to take it into account first. So in a way, we did it ourselves, rather than doing it cooperatively with them, which would have been the preference.”

Was this a precentage-based proposal? “Yes.”

What are the financial differences?: “Gary said we were $900 million or $1 billion apart. At the moment we are exactly $182 million apart. Over five years.”

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