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Monday, May 19, 2008

NHL PLAYERS THINK ABOUT NEXT LABOUR MOVE

From Reuters:

By Ben Klayman

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - National Hockey League players have the option to reopen the current labor deal with owners a year early, but likely will not make a final decision until the middle of next season, the players' union chief said on Friday.

Three years since NHL teams imposed a salary cap after a bitter labor dispute wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season, the National Hockey League Players Association is weighing the merits and challenges of reopening the deal at the end of next season, NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly told Reuters.

"We're just beginning to have that dialogue with the players," he said at the Sports Lawyers Association's annual conference in San Francisco. "I don't think anyone has a tremendous appetite for serious labor negotiations unless there's a good, solid business reason for it."
While acknowledging the union would love to kill the salary cap, he warned that reopening the deal would also give owners a crack at renegotiating parts of the contract they do not like.
"The players need to understand ... be careful what you wish for; that you could be finding yourself embroiled in a much longer and more difficult discussion," he said.

The union also has the option of extending the deal a year through the 2011-2012 season, Kelly said. The owners do not have similar options.

Kelly said the union will hold player meetings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, next month and in Rome in July to begin talks on contract issues. Those talks will continue during fall tours with each team and by the middle of next season the union will have established its views to make a final decision.

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