NHLPA won't reopen labour agreement
The executive board of the NHL Players' Association has voted not to reopen the collective bargaining agreement at the end of the season.
The NHLPA officially announced the decision during a news conference in Montreal ahead of this weekend's all-star game.
As part of the CBA that was signed to end the lockout in July 2005, the players were given the right to opt out of the six-year agreement after the fourth year.
The executive board vote, involving union reps from all 30 teams, was held via conference call Thursday night.
NHLPA members Zdeno Chara, Mike Komisarek, Vincent Lecavalier, Sheldon Souray, Joe Thornton and Jonathan Toews were among the players present for Friday's official announcement.
"While the NHLPA’s membership has issues with the current agreement, the players and their executive board decided that due to the current economic conditions as well as the players’ focus on continuing to help grow this game and expose our great athletes to many more fans, now is not the appropriate time to enter complex labour negotiations," NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly said in a statement.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman lauded the union's decision in a statement.
"This announcement certifies the players' endorsement of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and affirms that the system is working in the manner anticipated from its inception," Bettman said. "We are extremely pleased that the league and the players now can move forward together and that the fans' focus can remain on the ice, where it belongs."
The current deal expires in September 2011.