CBA Timeline: Looking back at negotiations between NHL, NHL Players’ Association

A chronological look back at the ongoing CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association:

Dec. 11—The NHL cancels regular-season games through Dec. 30, bringing the total number wiped away to 526. That represents 42.8 per cent of the season.

Dec. 6—After the NHLPA delivers a new proposal to the league, executive director Donald Fehr tells reporters a deal is imminent. He returns shortly after to say the NHL has rejected the offer and pulled its own off the table. A visibly angry commissioner Gary Bettman holds a lengthy news conference and scolds Fehr for raising hopes.

Dec. 5—The sides exchange new proposals during a lengthy session and agree for the first time on the economic aspect of the deal: US$300 million in deferred payments and a 50-50 split of revenue. The NHL also drops proposed changes to unrestricted free agency, entry-level contracts and arbitration. The talks are tense and see a member from the NHL side tell players that bringing Donald Fehr back to the table could be a deal-breaker.

Dec. 4—Six owners and 18 players gather along with deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr at a midtown Manhattan hotel. The meeting lasts well into the night and ends with Fehr telling reporters it was the “best day we’ve had.”

Nov. 27-28—Mediators Scot L. Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney conclude they can’t help the parties bridge the gap in negotiations after two days of meetings in Woodbridge, N.J. Before leaving, Bettman suggests to Donald Fehr that the leaders remove themselves from bargaining to give owners and players the chance to speak directly during the next session.

Nov. 23—The NHL cancels regular-season games through Dec. 14 along with the Jan. 27 all-star game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. That brings the total number of games wiped away to 422, which represents 34.3 per cent of the season.

Nov. 21—The NHLPA tables a proposal that uses the same framework put forward by the league for the first time. The union offers a 50-50 split of revenues and asks for $393 million in deferred payments. The NHL rejects the proposal, with Bettman saying the sides remain “far apart.”

Nov. 6-9—The sides meet over four consecutive days in New York but talks break down following a heated confrontation. During the course of meetings, the NHL proposes a 50-50 split of revenue along with $211 million in deferred payments to help ease the transition. The NHLPA asks for approximately $590 million to ensure all current contracts are honoured.

Nov. 3—Daly and Steve Fehr hold a private meeting in Chicago that lasts about eight hours. Afterwards, Daly tells The Canadian Press the session “covered a lot of ground.”

Nov. 2—The NHL cancels the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, which was to have been played between Toronto and Detroit at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. The league says its next outdoor game will be held at that venue.

Oct. 26—The NHL cancels regular-season games through Nov. 30, bringing the total number wiped away to 326. That represents 26.5 per cent of the season.

Oct. 25—The NHL withdraws its Oct. 16 offer after deadline passes to play a full 82-game schedule.

Oct. 19—The NHL cancels regular-season games through Nov. 1. In all, 135 games are wiped out.

Oct. 18—The NHLPA responds to NHL’s Oct. 16 offer with three proposals, all of which are quickly dismissed by the league.

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Oct. 16—The NHL tables a new offer in a bid to save an 82-game season. The deal calls for a 50-50 split of revenues across the board and would see a compressed schedule start on Nov. 2. The league also publishes the offer in its entirety on its website.

Oct. 10—The Alberta Labour Relations Board rules Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames players can remain locked out. The NHLPA had been seeking to have the lockout deemed illegal in the province.

Oct. 4—The NHL cancels the first two weeks of the regular season. In all, 82 games between Oct. 11 and Oct. 24 are wiped out.

Oct. 2—Daly tells reporters that missing the pre-season cost the league $100 million in lost revenue.

Sept. 27—The NHL cancels the remaining exhibition schedule through Oct. 8.

Sept. 19—The NHL cancels exhibition games through Sept. 30. All league employees are told they’ll be reduced to a four-day work week starting Oct. 1.

Sept. 15—The collective bargaining agreement expires and the NHL triggers the lockout, its third in 20 years.

Sept. 14—Quebec Labour Relations Board turns down an injunction request from 16 Montreal Canadiens players following an emergency hearing.

Sept. 13—NHL’s board of governors unanimously approves enacting a lockout when collective bargaining agreement expires. Donald Fehr meets with 283 players in a Manhattan hotel.

Sept. 12—The sides exchange proposals with the lockout looming. The NHLPA keeps the first three years of its Aug. 14 offer intact and suggests the final two years be tied to league growth. The NHL counters with a deal that sees the players’ share fall from 49 per cent to 47 per cent, although commissioner Gary Bettman calls it “time sensitive” and says it will be taken off the table if not accepted before Sept. 15.

Sept. 9—The NHLPA announces plans to challenge the forthcoming lockout with labour boards in Alberta and Quebec in a bid to force owners of the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens to continue paying players during the work stoppage.

Aug. 28—The NHL makes a counter-proposal to the union’s Aug. 13 offer. Using new definitions of hockey-related revenue, it sees the players’ share in revenue fall to 46 per cent over the course of a six-year deal. Bettman hails it as a “meaningful” step in negotiations.

Aug. 22—Bettman and Daly hold a secret meeting with Donald and Steve Fehr in Toronto. The group of key negotiators soon becomes known as “The Big Four.”

Aug. 14—The NHLPA puts its first offer on the table. The union proposes an economic system delinked from revenues that starts with a salary cap of $69 million in 2012-13. It also asks for more revenue sharing between teams. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Jason Spezza are among the players who travelled to Toronto for the meeting.

July 13—The NHL makes its first offer to the NHLPA during a meeting in Toronto. The league asks for the players’ share in hockey-related revenue to be reduced from 57 per cent to 43 per cent and suggests numerous changes to rules governing contracts, including a five-year maximum term limit.

June 29—The sides meet for the first time in New York.