Just like the NHL did a few weeks ago, the NHLPA has now formally declined their option to reopen the CBA following the 2019-20 season. That means the current agreement will remain in effect until September of 2022, avoiding any work stoppages during that time. The NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr released this statement:
While players have concerns with the current CBA, we agree with the league that working together to address those concerns is the preferred course of action instead of terminating the agreement following this season. We have been having discussions with the league about an extension of the CBA and expect those talks will continue.
When combined with the league’s decision, this is a very positive step that guarantees labor peace for at least three more years. The two sides will have a much longer runway to approach any CBA extension discussions, though by no means are those talks settled. The players and league both indicated in their announcements that they are not fully satisfied with the way the agreement is currently structured, meaning there will surely be some tense negotiations in the future. Topics like rising escrow levels, contract structuring and international competitions are some of the hot-button topics, though there are sure to be more brought up in the next few years.
Still, this can be celebrated by hockey fans that were dreading another work stoppage at the end of this season. The league has frustratingly gone through several over the last few decades, including the most recent one during the first half of the 2012-13 season. With this announcement, the hockey world can enjoy this season without the feeling of impending doom that has so often accompanied the sport.