NEW YORK — The NHL and NHL Players’ Association split into small group meetings during Day 2 of labor talks Wednesday to discuss players’ pensions and benefits, as well as health and safety issues, although a counterproposal from the NHLPA does not appear imminent because of the information requests to the league that are pending.
Although “non-core economic issues” dominated Wednesday’s bargaining session at league offices in midtown Manhattan, the major point of contention moving forward will be the financial issues that surfaced in the league’s first formal proposal submitted July 13.
The Players’ Association still has not received all the financial documentation — primarily the independently audited information for the league’s clubs — requested from the NHL and has no intent to submit a proposal until that information is received and then analyzed.
“The information that we’re getting now is independently audited statements,” said former player Mathieu Schneider, who is special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. “What we got was the first drop — I think it was 76,000 pages. They’re asking for huge concessions … $450 million from players. We certainly feel the audited statements are very important to what will eventually be our alternate proposal.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman seemed to express frustration after Tuesday’s meeting when he questioned whether the NHLPA’s requests were “relevant.”
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league’s frustration stems from the implication there was a discrepancy between the information readily available to the Players’ Association and the supplementary documentation requested.