The focus of late has been on peaceful collective bargaining talks between the NHL and NHLPA. The players’ association formally declined their opt-out on Monday, extending the current CBA through the 2021-22 season, while the two sides continue to work toward a new agreement. Meanwhile though, the league has been embroiled in another labor negotiation. The NHL Officials’ Association watched their deal with the NHL expire at the end of August and the two groups have been working hard to come to a resolution before the puck drops on a new season. Fortunately, a deal has been made with time to spare. Sports Illustrated’s Michael Farber was the first to report that the terms of a new agreement have been agreed for the NHL’s referees and the deal needs only to be ratified by the Officials’ Association. While neither side has confirmed the new agreement, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun also hears that a resolution has been reached, adding that it is a four-year term. Luckily, the NHL won’t have to deal with replacement referee any time soon, a debacle that played out poorly for the NFL in 2012.
- The Ontario Hockey League began their regular season today and the league announced Opening Night rosters for each of its 20 teams. While many of the biggest names in the OHL are still competing in NHL training camps, many have already been returned to their clubs to start the junior season on time. Ontario will also be home to three of the biggest names in the 2020 NHL Draft class: forwards Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves) and Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) and defenseman Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters). After a down year for the OHL – and Canada as a whole – in last year’s draft, this promises to be a bounce-back year with plenty of draft-eligible talent to watch.
- Drysdale’s team, the Erie Otters, also started off the season with an exciting announcement. The team revealed a new ten-year lease agreement with the Erie Insurance Arena, keeping the team in the Pennsylvania city through the 2028-29 season. The decision was likely a no-brainer for the city of Erie. The Otters have been one of the top junior teams in all of the CHL over the last decade, winning the 2016-17 OHL Championship and producing the likes of Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Anthony Cirelli, and, of course, Connor McDavid. The “McDavid Era” vaulted the popularity of the Otters and has created a nice fan base in Erie.
- The Washington Capitals have cut two junior players from training camp, but won’t return them to their clubs just yet (if at all). Both Kody Clark and Riley Sutter, a second- and third-round pick respectively in 2018 and both part of famous hockey families, are no longer competing for an NHL roster spot. However, the team announced that they have been assigned to minor league camp with the Hershey Bears for now. Why? Both players are dealing with injuries and will continue to rehab under the supervision of the Washington medical staff before likely heading back to junior. Clark and Sutter are both currently battling upper-body injuries, but should be back competing in the CHL soon, with a possibility they stick in Hershey.