Labor peace in our time.
For the first time in 28 years, there will not be a strike, a threat of a strike, or even any bad blood between the NHL and the NHLPA.
The two sides have come to an agreement, pending ratification from the owners as well as the Players Association, that rips up the final two seasons of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and gives everyone six years of peace as the new CBA will end in the 2025-26 season, September 15, 2026 to be exact.
There is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the former adversaries which includes a return to play this season as well agreement on a salary cap that will not go down in the next three seasons as revenues will continue to decrease for at least another year.
Since player salaries are tied into league revenues with players receiving 50 percent of NHL revenue, the players would have had to return huge monies this season as the plan was for $4 billion in revenues, while hitting $3 billion now may be a pipedream.
Anyway, the good news is that pending ratification, the NHL will head into Phase 3 on Monday July 13 when all 24 teams still alive in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, return to training camp in their respective cities and then head to the two hub cities (Toronto and Edmonton, although not announced officially) on July 26 as the Western clubs go to Edmonton and the Eastern Conference teams are off to Toronto.
Should the bubble work, the play-in series will begin on August 1 with the following series:
Edmonton – Chicago
Carolina-New York Rangers
New York Islanders-Florida
All are best-of-five series with the winners moving on and the losing sides each getting a 12.5 percent chance to pick first overall in the Draft and take Alexis Lafreniere. As well, the top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin series to determine the rankings heading into the conference quarter-finals.
In the East, Boston, Tampa Bay Washington and Philadelphia will battle for the top seed while in the West it will be St. Louis, Vegas, Colorado and Dallas.
Part of the new CBA includes the NHL going to the Olympics in 2022 (China) and 2026, pending an agreement with the IOC. If they do go to China, that should have a huge effect on gaining some popularity in the world’s biggest country by population.
It’s a good deal by both sides and kudos to both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr to give the fans of hockey something to look forward to.
Now all we need is for everyone to stay healthy and hockey will be back!