NHL labour talks are set to resume Tuesday morning, with discussions focusing on hockey-related revenue and not the core economic issues that continue to divide the two sides in a league-imposed lockout entering its third week.
A person familiar with negotiations, on Monday, provided the details of what was expected to be discussed at the meeting that will be held in New York. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have not issued an update on talks.
The person added there are currently no other meetings planned beyond Tuesday.
Negotiators for the league and players will pick up where they left off after Sunday, when they completed three straight days of discussions. The talks focused on secondary issues, such as what should define hockey-related revenue, as well as player health and safety.
Though both sides have made progress in discussing secondary issues, they’ve failed to make much of a dent into determining how to split up more than US$3-billion in league revenues between owners and players.
The NHL locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired on Sept. 15, and has since cancelled its entire pre-season schedule. The next step is expected to come this week, when the NHL is anticipated to announce the postponement of the start of the regular season, which was scheduled to open on Oct. 11.
The NHL dispute is now attracting the attention of two New Jersey senators, who are urging both sides to settle.
Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez sent a letter Monday to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr urging them to consider the economic impact on their state if the dispute is not resolved.
The Democrats wrote that Congress has jurisdiction over interstate commerce, which includes professional sports, and will be keeping a “close eye” on negotiations.
The letter warned that the absence of New Jersey Devils’ games in Newark could mean millions of dollars in lost economic activity and jobs in especially tough economic times. The Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, creating a financial boost to the city just five months ago.
The lockout comes on the heels of the NBA’s Nets moving from Newark to Brooklyn, N.Y.