Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Cross Checks [Print without images]

Friday, December 28, 2012
Highlights of NHL's Dec. 27 proposal

By Pierre LeBrun

An NHL team source provided highlights from the latest offer the NHL gave to the union on Thursday:

• Ten-Year Agreement (through 2021/22 season); Parties have mutual opt-out right
after 8 years.

• 50-50 Revenue Split between Clubs and Players with current HRR Accounting.

• $300 million in “Make-Whole” payments (outside the system) to compensate Players
for the reduced value of Player contracts in the early years of the new CBA.

• No contractual “roll backs” of Player Salaries.

• Clubs can operate with an effective Upper Limit of $70.2 million in 2012/13; must
come into compliance with $60 million Upper Limit for the start of the 2013/14
season.

• Each Club will be entitled to execute up to one “Compliance Buy-Out” prior to the
2013/14 season pursuant to which payments made to the Player will not be charged
against the team’s Cap, but will be charged against the Players’ Share.

• Establishment of a Defined Benefit Pension Plan that will provide maximum
permissible benefits to Players upon retirement. The Plan will be funded with
contributions out of Players’ Share and $50 million of the “Make-Whole” payment
amount of $300 million will be allocated and set aside to fund potential underfunding
liabilities of the Plan at end of CBA.

• Rules for Entry Level System, Salary Arbitration and Group 3 Unrestricted Free
Agency will remain unchanged.

• Maximum contract length of 6 years subject to a Club’s ability to re-sign its own
Player for a term of up to 7 years (provided the Player played his last full season
with the re-signing Club). In addition, year-to-year Salary variability will be limited
(up or down) to no more than 10% of the value of the first year of a multi-year SPC.

• Money paid (above a defined threshold) to Players on NHL SPCs in another
professional league (e.g., the AHL or a European league) will be charged against the
NHL team’s Cap, but not against the Players’ Share.

• “Cap Advantage Recapture” formula applicable to existing long-term contracts (in
excess of 6 years) for years in which Player is retired or fails/refuses to perform
under his NHL SPC.

• Ability for Clubs to retain/allocate Salary and Cap Charges in the context of Player
Trades within specified parameters.

• More robust League-wide Revenue Sharing Program (increased pool from
approximately $150 million to $200 million) with creation of Industry Growth Fund to
improve the long-term revenue generating potential of the League and low-grossing
Clubs. Formation of active Revenue Sharing Oversight Committee on which NHLPA
will participate.

• New Player Discipline procedures and protocol incorporating Player appeal rights to
a neutral third-party arbitrator for both on-ice and off-ice discipline.

• Flexibility-related adjustments to Payroll Range System, including (in addition to
Salary/Cap Charge allocation in Player trades):

• Various Player contract enhancements and protections, including:

• Player “Working Condition” improvements, including:

• New CBA Article devoted exclusively to Player Health and Safety measures and
covering such matters as:

• Elimination of NHLPA “Guarantee” of Escrow shortfall and increased NHLPA
discretion to determine in-season Escrow Rates.

• Completion of expert third-party review of SABH Program and commitment to make
recommended modifications and improvements, as appropriate.

• Improvements to existing Performance Enhancing Substances Program, including:

• Joint (NHL/NHLPA) Committees:

• Players provided access to NHL.com platform for their individual Player websites
and social media.

• Implementation of a weighted Draft Lottery in which all non-Playoff teams compete
for opportunity to choose first overall in the annual Draft.

• Exclusive negotiating rights window for European Draftees extended to one period
covering four years, instead of two periods covering two years each.

• Modification to “Four-Recall Rule” to remove limitation on “number of transactions”
following the Trade Deadline; replace with limitations on the total number of Recalls
on roster at any one time after the Trade Deadline.

• Updated and improved Grievance Arbitration process and procedure.

• Enhanced access to Game Tickets for Visiting Team Players and NHLPA.

• NHLPA representatives to be provided reasonable access to Club facilities and
Players at reasonable times.