On Thursday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman officially set September 15 as a deadline to get a new collective bargaining agreement in place. Otherwise, NHL owners will lock out the players. That means there are 37 days until yet another NHL work stoppage.
“I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months,” Bettman told reporters. “Namely, that time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season, so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon.
However, NHL Players Association head Donald Fehr said the league could continue to operate under the old agreement after September 15 until a new agreement was reached.
“Under the law, if an agreement expires, that may give someone the legal ability to go on strike or impose a lockout,” Fehr said. “There is no requirement to do so, and if nobody does anything you continue to work under the old conditions until they do things. If there is a lockout, somebody has to choose to do that.”
At this point, there appears to be little hope for NHL fans of a resolution anytime soon. Fehr says there is a “meaningful gulf” between the two sides. At this point, it’s shaping up a lot like 2004-05, meaning we could lose another entire NHL season.