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NHLPA gives lockout update to Canadian Parliament

CBC

The NHLPA was asked by some members of the Canadian Parliament earlier in the week to meet and give a status report of the collective bargaining talks between the players’ union and the NHL. Here is the letter NHLPA director of operations Alexandra Dagg provided to Parliament:

"Dear Member of Parliament:

As the lockout approaches the eleventh week, I wanted to provide you with a brief update of the status of bargaining between the NHLPA and the NHL.

On October 26, 2012, the league officially informed the NHLPA that they had withdrawn their latest proposal and had cancelled regular season games until the end of November. This move was deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. Since that time, the NHL has also cancelled the Winter Classic.

In an attempt to move the discussions forward, we met with the NHL last week for a series of meetings in New York. Unfortunately, they continue to insist that they will not move off their “take-it-or-leave it” approach to bargaining.

The players have proposed that their share of hockey-related revenue move towards the NHL’s stated desire for a 50-50 split, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request.

We have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions.

To be clear, the lockout was a unilateral decision taken by the owners. It is the third lockout in eighteen years. Hockey has lost more games to work stoppages than the three other professional sports leagues combined, virtually all as the result of owners’ lockouts.

Given that the NHL has just enjoyed seven straight seasons of record revenues, we believe the owners have no justification for their actions. The players have repeatedly offered to open the season and play without a new contract in place. Negotiations could have continued while games were played. It did not have to come to this.

The players understand the selfishness of the owners’ lockout position all too well. Countless people — from league and team employees, to hockey fans, to small business owners and their workers — are suffering unnecessarily as a result.

While we recognize that we can’t help everyone that has been affected by the owners’ decision, we’re committed to doing what we can, where we can.

As a start, we have reached out to a number of small business owners to offer assistance, even if it’s only in a modest way. In addition, a number of our players have been working with minor hockey teams across Canada to provide coaching support. To date, there have been 88 player visits to 55 different practices.

Players have also initiated and organized a number of charity hockey games in Chicago, Minnesota, Vancouver, and a number of games in Quebec. There are plans to play a game in Winnipeg as well. I have taken the liberty of including a package of pictures and clippings of our recent activities that you might find of interest.

The players remain committed to negotiating until a deal is reached that is fair for both sides, and, more than anything, look forward to getting back on the ice."

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