No NHL work stoppage for at least 3 years as players decline to reopen agreement

The NHL Players’ Association has announced the union will not re-open the current collective bargaining agreement after the 2019-20 season, avoiding a potential lockout next September.

The NHL had the same right and informed the NHLPA it would not terminate the labour deal late last month.

The players had until Monday to make their decision, while the league’s deadline was Sept. 1.

The original 10-year agreement signed after the last lockout in 2013 included the opt-out clause after eight years for both sides.

The current CBA runs through Sept. 15, 2022.

“While players have concerns with the current CBA, we agree with the league that working together to address those concerns is the preferred course of action instead of terminating the agreement following this season,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement. “We have been having discussions with the league about an extension of the CBA and expect that those talks will continue.”

Meetings between owners and players have been going on since February and increased in frequency in recent weeks. The league did not opt out of the CBA, with commissioner Gary Bettman citing momentum and the importance of labour peace overriding the issues owners might have.

Players have bigger issues than owners after making significant concessions in the last CBA agreed to in 2013. Escrow payments, health care, Olympic participation and what qualifies as hockey-related revenue are things players have cited as some of their top concerns — many of which could be addressed in a potential extension.

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