The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players Association(NHLPA) ended two days of talks on Friday with an agreement to meet next week in an effort to try to avoid a work stoppage. As a hockey fan and member of Bruins Nation, I feel optimistic, yet slightly paranoid. Keep in mind that the last time the two sides worked toward a new labor agreement the entire 2004-05 NHL season was lost. I’d sure hate to see another ‘Season Not Played’ on Lord Stanley’s hardware.
The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire on September 15. The league and the union met for two-and-a-half hours at league offices in New York on Thursday followed by a four-hour session on Friday. “We had two productive days of meetings,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. ”A number of important issues were raised on both sides of the table, all of which will be discussed more thoroughly as we get deeper into bargaining. We are pleased with the level of engagement and look forward to meeting again next week.”
NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr also commented on the current state of negotiations “A number of items were discussed and, along with the league, we will be looking at these CBA matters in greater detail at upcoming bargaining sessions . We look forward to re-convening for further talks on Tuesday at our office in Toronto.” Both sides were silent on what was discussed during the two sessions but they did agree to reconvene negotiations next week at NHLPA offices in Toronto. The Boston Bruins had no members of the team there in New York, and likely will not be represented in Toronto.
The current NHLPA representative for the Boston Bruins is forward Daniel Paille. Paille talked about his feelings a few months ago when the first league/union talks were starting. “I think both sides know what’s at stake, I think just having two lockouts in a row (NFL,NBA), especially one after the other is not helpful to either side. I think hopefully both sides realize what’s at stake and realize that we want to build the fan base and the way to do that is to keep playing.”
I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed. Last thing we need is an empty stadium come October.