The 2017-18 NHL season brought a ton of great stories, from the redemption MVP year of Taylor Hall, to the improbable success of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and beyond.
At this time of year most fan bases are optimistic next season will bring success and that rookies will make a strong leap into the league. There’s little negativity in the summer months.
So we apologize for this story on a looming CBA deadline.
Though the current NHL-NHLPA agreement runs 10 years, both sides have an opportunity to opt out early a little more than a year from now. Given the league’s recent history of work stoppages, it’s a frustrating reality for fans who face the possibility of another one.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr joined The Starting Lineup on Vancouver 650 Wednesday morning and was asked if he and the players were leaning one way or the other.
“I don’t think anybody knows yet,” Fehr said. “The way it works is that contract runs 10 years, but either party can choose to end it after eight and the mechanism for that is a notice that you send to the other side in September of 2019. If either side sends that notice the contract will end, but not until September 2020 and that’s two more full seasons from now.”
It’s not yet clear what the hot-button issues may end up being, but there are a few that both sides could potentially dig their heels in on. For instance, players were disappointed — even angry — to not be included in the 2018 Olympics, which is currently not written in the CBA. Even if the NHL is interested in taking a two-week break to participate in the Beijing Olympics in 2022, the league may want a concession from the players to put it back in. The PA also is no fan of escrow, payments held back to ensure a level 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues, though Fehr acknowledged those payments dipped this season.