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Hockey fans across the world can exhale, as the NHL and NHL players association agreed that the economics of the six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated last summer would remain intact.
This came after weeks of silence and players complaining on reports that they would have to defer money and/or switch up the escrow system for all NHL teams. Because there won’t be fans for the start of the season, the idea would have been to help organizations financially.
Additionally, the NHL isn’t ruling out a bubble scenario again.
So what’s next? Both sides are trying to negotiate to figure out the proper protocols for training camp, COVID-19 testing, playoffs, opt-outs…basically everything. With no confirmed date for the restart, multiple reports state that the season could be starting up no later than January 13th, 2021.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has been very adamant on having a normal NHL 2021-22 season, but for this season there’s no rush. “That is a work in progress, influenced largely by what we’re hearing from the medical experts, and we talk to some pretty highly placed people without name-dropping,” Bettman explained in an online interview with Sports Business Journal.
Bettman continued to say, “COVID is going through a second wave, which could be worse than the first wave, and between Thanksgiving and the aftermath and what they think is going to happen for Christmas and the aftermath, we are taking our time and making sure that as we look for ways to move forward we’re focused on health and safety and doing the right things.”
Due to the shifting nature of COVID, nothing can be planned on a unilateral basis. Another issue is that in certain places, the COVID-19 protocols have become stricter because of the rising spike in cases. Places like Arizona, Winnipeg, Montreal, and San Jose will present some problems to the NHL as the season unfolds.
With hockey-related revenue, the owners and players agreed to a 50/50 split of income under the negotiated CBA deal. The NHL salary cap is tied to hockey-related revenue under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement as well. It will remain at $81.5 million until hockey-related revenue surpasses $3.3 billion, again coming from the new CBA deal.
The proposed 2020-21 season would consist of 56 games, with time in between the schedule for any make-up games that will be needed due to any COVID-19 related issues.
The first thing that needed to happen has happened. There’s been a conversation about the season, because January will be here sooner than you know it. This new information was needed for the progression of the 2020-21 season startup. We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold.
But for now the great news is that the financial battle over the season is over. So sit back and relax until confirmed dates are given by the Board of Governors and agreed upon by the NHL’s players.