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An unannounced session with the primary negotiators was held at union headquarters in Toronto on Friday, with commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly dropping in on NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and special counsel Steve Fehr.
The group met in both the morning and afternoon in an effort “to move this process forward,” according to a union spokesman, and they are expected to keep in touch by phone over the coming days. Both sides seemed optimistic that another negotiating session would be scheduled for next week.
“The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better,” Daly said. “We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans. …
“We are committed to getting this done.”
The sides haven’t been able to find agreement on how best to split up the $ 3.3 billion US the NHL took in revenues last season. The league is looking for an immediate rollback on salaries while the players are pushing to have all current contracts honoured.
The NHL has been pushing the union to table another offer to help break the standoff in negotiations. Donald Fehr remains open to the possibility, telling The Canadian Press earlier this week that the union is constantly reviewing its options.
“(The proposal) has to be one that is fair to the players and is consistent with what the history is and what the economics are in the industry,” he said. “So far, it’s been difficult to do this without the response being: ‘You haven’t moved far enough fast enough.”‘