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The NHL's salary cap received a boost on Tuesday from the NHL Players' Association, which voted in favour of a 5-per-cent "growth factor" for next season.

This means the 2010-11 cap could jump to about $58.5-million (all currency U.S.) from last season's $56.8-million. The cap will be officially announced by the league and the players union before July 1.

The vote maintained the tradition since the collective agreement was reached in the summer of 2005. The increase was adopted every year except 2006. However, there was speculation this year the players might not vote for it because their escrow payments, which go to the owners at the end of the season to balance the players' share of league revenue at 57 per cent, hit 11 per cent last season.

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If the players had voted to keep the growth factor under 5 per cent (the factor is added automatically unless the players vote otherwise), then there was a greater chance their escrow payments next season would be lower. But by voting to bump the cap by 5 per cent, the players ensured there will be more money available this season for free-agent and other contracts.

The NHLPA also voted to extend the collective agreement by one more year to 2012, which was not a surprise since they do not have a leader at this point. The union is expected to adopt a new constitution in the next several weeks and then choose a new executive director.

In a statement issued by the union, the players said there are a number of things in the current agreement they do not like. "The NHLPA is currently reviewing these issues and will be forming a negotiating committee in the coming months in order to address these matters," the statement said.

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