CBA talks are underway behind the scenes, and hockey fans can only hope that another lockout is not on the horizon. The next CBA is up following the 2022 season, and there are plenty of obstacles that each side faces.
For now, Olympic participation for NHL players is still on the back-burner for the next Olympics. That does not mean things could not change.
The latest discussions between the IIHF and NHL include things like player travel and insurance costs. The NHL owners want to make sure their players are protected, and given the finest accommodations when they travel outside of North America.
In addition to player protection, the NHL owners are not crazy about pausing the sport for 2-3 weeks during the regular season. The Olympics come at a critical point in the season when playoff races begin to heat up in the NHL. Any injury to a club’s star player during the Olympics could have major consequences when NHL play resumes after the Olympics conclude.
WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY
Another item on the league’s agenda is the World Cup of Hockey. It appears that the league would be more receptive to this concept than Olympic participation for players. The World Cup of Hockey gives the league more flexibility with format and location.
There are talks that the NHL would like to do an international format for the 2021 NHL All Star Game. Many fans would love to see a change to the event. Could NHL fans soon see a North America versus Europe format? This option could give all sides a happy medium to possibly not go to the next Olympics.
PLENTY OF WORK LEFT TO DO
There is plenty of work left to do for all sides in regards to the next CBA. With the Olympics on the horizon, the NHL will surely use its leverage it has against the players.
There is still plenty of time to get unfinished business completed. But there cannot be any long delays with all parties involved. All parties need to be sitting at the same table at once and working at a quicker pace. From the talks that took place over the summer, it appears that the NHL and NHLPA were being very cordial with each other to start, but it is hard to tell if the talks dug far down beneath the surface.
This is something that cannot be decided last minute. These issues should be resolved by the start of 2021. If all parties can agree to work quickly, results should happen faster. This is something that cannot be put off until late.
By: George Foussekis