NHL owners and players will meet in Los Angeles next week to discuss the lockout that has put the league in the throes of its worst downturn since the 1960s.
The meeting comes as the NHL and the players’ union continue to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
The current CBA expires at the end of the season, and the league says it will seek to extend it through the 2018-19 season.
The union says it has rejected that offer.
But the NHL has threatened to walk away if negotiations go beyond the expiration date.
“I don’t think the league is ready to go back to a deal with the players.
We’ve tried that over the last few days,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said at a news conference Thursday.
“We’ve tried to get them to negotiate the new CBA.
And we haven’t gotten anywhere.”
The two sides are locked in a dispute over the league’s ownership of the teams.
The league and the union want a raise of at least 10 percent, a change that would give the teams greater bargaining power.
The players want the team owners to raise salaries.
The NHL says the two sides haven’t agreed on a deal yet.
It’s unclear what the new collective agreement will look like, but Bettman told reporters Friday that it would include a new contract for players and owners, similar to the one they have now.
The CBA that expires at season’s end, or at least the one that will be announced on Feb. 12, 2019, is based on the previous CBA, which expired last March.
It includes a $3.8 billion increase in the salary cap that was agreed to by the players and the owners.
The new CAA would also include a raise in the league cap to $65 million.
Bettman declined to provide a number for the cap increase.
“This is not a number we’re talking about,” Bettman insisted.
The two-week meeting in Los, Calif., was originally set for March 11.
However, a series of events in recent days have brought the meeting to this point, with the league saying it is trying to reach a deal in the last 30 minutes of the meeting.
Bettmans meeting with the media Thursday afternoon was the first of two in the week ahead.
The second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
Bettmann said Friday that he expects to have the agreement finalized in the coming days.
The talks, though, have been contentious, with players protesting the new deal and the commissioner insisting on keeping the teams in the fold.
“You have the commissioner and the president, who both are union members, at the table,” Bettmann told reporters.
“They’re trying to work with us.
Bettman acknowledged the challenges, but he said the players “have not agreed to anything that’s not in the players agreement.” “
If you look at what the players want, if you look how we have done business, I think there’s going to come a point where I’m not sure if I want to sit here in the next week saying this is the right way to do it.”
Bettman acknowledged the challenges, but he said the players “have not agreed to anything that’s not in the players agreement.”
He added that the players, who have had several meetings over the past few days, “are very cooperative and they’re not going to go away until we get to a solution.”
The NHL and players’ association have also reached out to the other three major labor unions in the U.S. — the AFL-CIO, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the United Steelworkers.
The unions have all expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the CBA was drafted.
They have said they will fight to maintain the CBL and make it a permanent deal.
“There are other labor unions that have a very different view,” Bettmans spokesman John Moore said.
“The CBA is a very complicated piece of legislation.
There are other pieces of legislation in the CAB.
We have a lot of things we want to make happen, and we’ll see what happens over the next two weeks.”