No professional American sport has endured more labor strife than the National Hockey League. The league has experienced several lockouts, including canceling the entire 2004-05 season and most of the 2012-13 season.
With the NHL’s decision to not opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement coming down this week, Sharks defenseman Marc-Édouard Vlasic hopes the NHL Players’ Association elects to use its own opt-out clause to renegotiate the CBA.
“We’ll wait and see what the league will say on Sept. 1, but of course there’s a lot of stuff that I’d like to change,” Vlasic told The Athletic’s Sean Gordon prior to the league's announcement. “If the players aren’t satisfied on certain fronts, then we should rethink the CBA.”
Vlasic’s main point of contention lies in the escrow clause of the agreement, which requires players to surrender portions of their salary in order to keep the league revenue split with the owners at an even 50-50.
“I mean, players sign a big contract, and they get 15 percent taken away immediately because of escrow. It’s not our fault. We’re the product, and it’s our job to ensure people watch our league.”
“It’s not our job to take care of (equalizing revenues). Players keep saying year after year that they don’t like escrow. Now’s the time to put on the big-boy pants.”
The NHLPA released a statement Friday, saying conversations will continue with players and a decision will be announced prior to the Sept. 15 deadline.