NHL, Player's Union Amend Collective Bargaining Agreement - Tarnished Twenty
Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

NHL, Player's Union Amend Collective Bargaining Agreement

The NHL is breathing a sigh of relief as their standoff over contracts and the collective bargaining agreement is finally over. The NHL agreed to a revised contract of Llya Kovalchuk, who plays for the New Jersey Devils.

The dispute between the NHL player's union and the league involved long-term contracts. The league had been questioning several long-term deals of players including Marian Hossa, Roberto Luongo, Chrop Pronger and Marc Savard. The contracts were designed to avoid salary cap hits in early years.

The NHL denied the Devils' contract offer to Kovalchuk because it violated the league's salary cap. An arbiter agreed. For example, the NHL originally denied Kovalchuk a 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. Under that deal, Kovalchuk would have earned only $550,000 in his last five years, ESPN reports.

The league has now approved a 15-year $100 million contact. As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the league will stop challenging long term deals that have already been executed.

ESPN obtained statements from both sides and it appeared that everyone came out of the deal happy:

"We're pleased to be able to establish clearly-defined rules for these types of contracts going forward and just as happy we can turn the page on uncertainties relating to several other existing contracts..."

- NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly

"We are pleased to finalize an agreement which ends the League's circumvention investigations and also establishes rules on long-term contracts that will provide players, their certified agents and general managers clarity for the negotiation of new contracts..."

- Director of Salary Cap/Marketplace & Associate Counsel for the NHLPA Roland Lee

In the end it all adds up to a somewhat rare situation where everyone willingly made compromises and came out happy with the deal that is done. Hopefully the NFL is watching closely and can figure out how to come to a resolution before their collective bargaining agreement expires in March of 2011.

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