NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr expressed his frustration with the NHL following the league's official announcement that all regular season games through Nov. 30 had been canceled on Friday.
Fehr acknowledged that the announcement came as no surprise given the NHLPA's rejection of the owners most recent collective bargaining proposal, which contained a 50/50 split of hockey related revenue with no salary rollbacks.
However, he made it clear that the NHLPA is not happy about the way the league has decided to negotiate throughout this process, labeling their most recent deal as a 'take-it-or-leave-it' proposal. He added that when the players made a counterproposal with three separate deals that all worked down to a 50/50 split, the league dismissed them after 10 minutes of the presentation.
He continued by discussing the players willingness to meet and negotiate without any pre-conditions. Fehr's conclusion is that the owners believe there is no point in talking unless they get everything they want. As of this time there are no future negotiations scheduled but Fehr hoped the two sides would meet soon.
Here is his full statement, via the NHLPA's official website:
"The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn its latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.
Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a "take-it-or-leave-it" proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players' share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their "make whole" provision.
The message from the owners seems to be: if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon."