Talks go on to solve NHL lockout issue

Talks go on to solve NHL lockout issue

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
Talks go on to solve NHL lockout issue

Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks to the media at Crowne Plaza Times Square.AFP photo

National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL players union executive director Donald Fehr met on Sept. 29 as talks continued to try and end a lockout that threatens the 2012-2013 season.

The league locked out players earlier this month after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement hammered out only after the NHL lost the entire 2004-2005 season in a similar dispute over how to divide league revenues.

Players have been receiving 57 percent of $3.3 billion in revenues but recent gains by club owners in American football and the NBA have led NHL owners to seek a majority of the revenue instead of paying it out to players.

“I spent a few minutes with Gary talking about the overall situation and we agreed to keep in touch,” Fehr said. “I am sure we will talk again tomorrow.

“I am not going to talk about the specifics, but in general we’re trying to discuss how do we find a way to make an agreement -- how do we bridge the gap on the major issues that are between us.” Fehr and Bettman discussed how to decide what comprises hockey-related revenues.

“The nature of what we were trying to do today was create certainty on interpretations we’ve had over seven years of this CBA operation,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

The NHL has already wiped out all pre-season games and the regular-season openers, set for Oct. 11, are likely on the block next week without a new deal.