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Salary cap discussions on tap for NHL board of governors

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The Canadian Press
12/8/2013 3:00:08 PM
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Things are going great for the NHL from a business perspective.

How great will be revealed in the next couple of days at the board of governors meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif. The board is expected to approve the league's new television deal with Rogers and get briefed on the approximate salary cap for next season.

The $5.2-billion, 12-year deal the NHL struck with Rogers for exclusive national TV rights in Canada needs approval from the board of governors before it goes into effect for next season. Given the financial windfall it represents for the league, there's no real danger that it doesn't pass.

Revenue from that contract won't factor in until next year, but commissioner Gary Bettman said last month in Toronto that "it's fair to say" the NHL is over the US$3.3-billion mark from the last full season.

"The preliminary data, and it's preliminary, looks strong," Bettman said in mid-November.

Chief operating officer John Collins recently made reference to the NHL being a $4-billion business. Even if that's a number the league hits in the near future, the trend for the salary cap is upward - and fast.

The board of governors will get the update on the 2014-15 salary cap, which will be a substantial raise from the $64.3 million limit this season. That number is expected to be around $70 million, which means the cap gets to its pre-lockout level in the second full season after the work stoppage.

Future international competition, such as the revival of the World Cup of Hockey, could get some discussion, but that is an issue that needs to be negotiated with the Players' Association.

The NHL's new alignment seems to fit 32 teams better than 30 at some point, but Bettman has said there are no immediate plans for expansion.

"I don't envision right now going through a formal expansion process," he said. "We get expressions of interest all the time. Those are informal conversations that we have, but in terms of a formal bid process, I'm not focused on doing anything like that right now."

Other items expected to be on the agenda were outlined by TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com on Sunday. They include: A briefing on potential rule changes and disciplinary procedure from Colin Campbell, Brendan Shanahan and Stephen Walkom, an update on legal matters including the recent lawsuit filed by over 200 ex-players, an update on the 2014 Sochi Olympics as well as an update on the League's relationship with outside hockey organizations such as USA Hockey, the Canadian Hockey League and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The board is set to meet Monday and Tuesday.

Gary Bettman (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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