October 16, 2012
NHLers looking for money-back guarantee
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
Are members of the NHL Players' Association willing to pay the price to get back to work?
Although the union was happy to get an offer with teeth from the NHL during a bargaining session Tuesday in Toronto, the players have concerns about what they would have to shell out in escrow under a new CBA.
The players normally have from 8% to 15% of their salaries collected by the league during the season to help make up any cash shortfall in case the revenues don't grow at the number projected by the NHL and the union.
Under the previous collective bargaining agreement -- which included $1 billion in annual revenue growth since it was signed in 2005 -- the players generally have had most of the escrow money returned, including cheques that are going out this month.
However, there have been times where they've had to pay, so the players want to make sure they have full protection if they are to agree to a new deal. Executive director Donald Fehr had major concerns after the offer was tabled.
Fehr said moving to a 50-50 split would mean "a very large escrow in the early years."
The players are willing to take a hit, but they've maintained throughout they don't want to take all of the risk. This is an issue to watch.