A tentative agreement has been reached between the National Hockey League Players Association and the National Hockey League after a 16-hour negotiating session, ESPN reported on Sunday, Jan. 6.
After a 113 day lockout, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr made the announcement in the early hours of Sunday morning, standing side by side. The pair announced that there was a “framework in place for a new collective bargaining agreement.”
The NHL/NHLPA deal still requires language clarification, legal fine-tuning and ratification from both sides; a verbal agreement has been reached on the major points.
Bettman said, “We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s good to be at this point.”
The deal still requires majority approval from the board of governors, which could be done as early as Tuesday. The NHLPA membership also needs to reach majority approval before the tentative deal will become official.
What does the tentative agreement include?
- A 10-year deal with mutual opt-out clause after eight years and includes contract term limits at seven years. Eight years is for a team to re-sign its own players.
- For the first year of the agreement, the salary cap is $60 million but teams can spend up to $70.2 million in the transition period, while the floor is $44 million.
- Contract salary variance is capped at 35 percent from year to year, with the provision that the last year cannot vary more than 50 percent from the highest-salaried year.
- Revenue sharing will spread $200 million, with a $60 million NHLPA-initiated growth fund included.
- The opening of free agency remains at July 1, although it will start later this year due to the delayed season. The NHL had hoped to extend that date to July 10.
It is still up in the air whether the NHL will have a 48 or 50 game season and all games will be played intraconference.