NHL, Union Hold Informal Talks
NEW YORK — Formal NHL labor discussions have yet to resume after talks recessed last Friday, but the “Big Four” met in Manhattan for an informal meeting Friday, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr along with brother Steve Fehr met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly at league offices to gauge where the two sides stand. Talks broke down last Friday because of a divide on the key economic issues, but there has been a constant line of communication open since.
“Why did we meet? We want to make a deal,” Bettman said.
“I know it’s difficult when every breath we take is chronicled, but there is an ebb and a flow to collective bargaining negotiation and sometimes it makes sense to get together and sometimes it makes sense to take a breath.”
“It’s always good to have dialogue,” Bettman said of Friday’s informal discussions. “And the dialogue never stops, even when we’re not formally meeting. The lines of communication have been open and they’ll stay open.”
The NHL and NHLPA met again Friday evening.
Daly and Steve Fehr went to dinner together Wednesday night and spoke again Friday along with the union chief and NHL commissioner.
“Trying to find a way to bridge the gap. That’s always the intent,” Donald Fehr said after Friday’s informal conversation.
“We expect discussions to resume, perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow. We don’t know yet” Fehr said. “There’s nothing else to say at this point.”
When asked if future discussions will be informal, like today’s meeting, Fehr said it’s “conceivable” the group could change.