NEW YORK, N.Y. – The NHL labour situation has hit another roadblock.
The NHL Players’ Association says the league has rejected its latest proposal, one that union head Donald Fehr called “a clear outline” to end the dispute.
Fehr says he received a voicemail from the league saying that the moves the players made were not acceptable and that there was no reason to remain in New York for more talks.
The union head says this latest development suggests the labour dispute will “not be resolved in the immediate future.”
“What can we tell the hockey fans of Canada? You can tell them that it looks like this is not going to be resolved in the immediate future,” Fehr said. “I hope that turns out to be wrong. But that’s certainly the message that we have today.”
The league has not commented on the proposal or the status of the talks.
Fehr says he doesn’t know when the two sides will meet again.
“They indicated that they will get back to us, so I assume at some point in due time they will,” he said.
He made the comments only a few minutes after detailing the players’ proposal to the media.
He said the players “responded comprehensively” to the issues that had been the focus of meetings over the last couple of days.
Those issues included player pensions and transition payments.
Fehr says he believes the two sides are “clearly very close if not on top of one another in connection with most of the major issues.”
He says the union presented an eight-year proposal with an option for opting out after Year 6.
The developments come after the two sides held bargaining sessions Tuesday and Wednesday that stretched well into the wee hours.
The sides returned to the table for about an hour Thursday night with a much smaller group than the one that met the previous two days.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly and general counsel Bob Batterman represented the league while Fehr and special counsel Steve Fehr sat in for the union along with a group of players.
None of the six league owners who were part of marathon sessions Tuesday and Wednesday took part.
Four members of that group — Pittsburgh’s Ron Burkle, Tampa’s Jeff Vinik, Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum and Winnipeg’s Mark Chipman — were considered moderates who travelled to New York in an effort to broker a deal.