The NHLPA's executive board announced on Friday they have decided not to re-open their collective bargaining agreement with the NHL after the 2008-09 season. The current CBA will remain in place for another two seasons.
Several representatives from the NHLPA were in attendance including Executive Director Paul Kelly and Director of Player Affairs Glenn Healy.
"Today's announcement that the NHLPA's membership is committed to playing under the CBA for two more years is great news for all hockey fans," said Kelly. "While the NHLPA's membership has issues with the current Agreement, the players and their Executive Board decided that due to the current economic conditions as well as the players' focus on continuing to help grow this game and expose our great athletes to many more fans, now is not the appropriate time to enter complex labour negotiations."
The CBA currently in place expires in September of 2011.
''This announcement certifies the players' endorsement of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and affirms that the system is working in the manner anticipated from its inception,'' Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. ''We are extremely pleased that the League and the players now can move forward together and that the fans' focus can remain on the ice, where it belongs.''
The deal that was signed in July of 2005, ending the NHL lockout, included a choice to opt out of the six-year agreement after the fourth year. But the decision not to re-open the CBA came during a conference call with Kelly and player representatives from all 30 NHL teams, the report said.
The NHLPA also has the option to extend the current Agreement for one year, through the conclusion of the 2011-12 season.
In the three-plus years since the CBA was signed, the salary cap has grown by a sizeable 45 per cent, making the players that much more likely to see through an agreement that was originally thought to be less than satisfactory for them.
In a related note, the NHL-NHLPA escrow payment has been set at 25 percent for the balance of this season. That means a quarter of each player's salary will be held in escrow in case the money is needed to help offset shortcomings in the league's projected revenue. The escrow payment level had been at 13.5 percent.