Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

National Hockey League Players Association negotiator Steve Fehr (R) takes a break in league negotiations in New York December 5, 2012.

BRENDAN MCDERMID/Reuters

The standoff continues for the NHL and NHL Players' Association.

Another day passed without communication between the sides, who have no plans to return to the bargaining table and appear to be digging in. Both say they are prepared to meet but neither seems willing to make the first move.

"We've always been willing and ready to bargain," NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr told The Canadian Press on Monday night. "It seems like the league has ... paused or cut the process off several times over the last few months. I don't know that we ever have.

Story continues below advertisement

"We're ready to meet whenever they're ready to meet."

According to Fehr, he and deputy commissioner Bill Daly last communicated with one another via email on Friday night. Daly indicated that there had been no miscommunication between the parties.

"They know where we are and we know where they are," he said. "We are still a long way apart. I'm sure if either one of us has a new idea for moving the process forward, we know how to get in touch."

Fehr was unwilling to discuss the possibility of the NHLPA filing for a "disclaimer of interest" — "I'm not talking about private internal union matters," he said — something that could happen as soon as the end of the week depending on how a vote of the membership goes.

Players began casting electronic ballots Sunday on whether they would give their executive board the authority to dissolve the union, which would allow them to challenge the legality of the lockout in court and file anti-trust lawsuits against the league. Two-thirds of union members must vote in favour by Thursday.

It comes just days after the NHL filed a class-action complaint which asked a federal court in New York to make a declaration on the legality of the lockout. In the 43-page complaint, the NHL argued that the NHLPA was only using the "disclaimer of interest" as a bargaining tactic designed to "extract more favourable terms and conditions of employment."

The league also filed an unfair labour practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday.

Story continues below advertisement

The NHL and NHLPA spent two days with a U.S. federal mediator last week in New Jersey but didn't report any progress. However, the union continues to believe the gap between the two sides isn't insurmountable.

"At times, we felt we were very close and had momentum towards a deal but something always seemed to happen to derail it," said Fehr. "Clearly we seemed to be making progress and were close the week of Dec. 4-6 in New York. As (executive director) Don (Fehr) has said, in some ways we're very, very close.

"It seems unfortunate that we get stuck in the mud and can't seem to move forward and finish it off."

The lockout is into its 14th week and has already resulted in the cancellation of 526 regular-season games through Dec. 30. It's only a matter of time before more games are wiped off the schedule.

Exactly when the sides will meet again remains up in the air.

"I guess we're just waiting for talks to resume," said Fehr. "Hopefully, it will happen very soon."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies