Ice hockey / NHL / Players dismiss owners' take-it-or-leave-it offer
Share of revenues at center of dispute
The National Hockey League remained on the brink of its third lockout in 18 years as the union representing its players turned down a take-it-or-leave-it offer on a new collective bargaining agreement yesterday.
Having had 24 hours to digest the league's latest proposal before the current deal expires at midnight tomorrow, NHL Players' Association head Donald Fehr briefed nearly 300 players on the offer before it was given the thumbs down.
"There have been no developments since yesterday," Fehr, flanked by several players, said at a news conference at a Manhattan hotel. "The players very much want to reach an agreement provided that it's one which is fair and which is equitable and treats them appropriately."
The NHL has already said it is prepared to impose a lockout if a new deal is not in place, putting the October 11 start of the 2012-13 season in jeopardy. The main sticking point in the dispute, which threatens a fourth work stoppage in 20 years, lies with the two sides at odds over how to divide $3.3 billion in revenue.
The league wants to reduce the players' share of hockey-related revenues despite enjoying record-breaking revenues last season along with an increase in television ratings.
"The only thing that needs to be said at this point is that if it comes to (a lockout ) it's a choice that was made, or is being made as we speak," said Fehr. "It's not a requirement, it's not something anybody has to do. If that's the way it's going to be then unfortunately that's the way it's going to be."