Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

N.H.L. and Players' Union Back on Speaking Terms

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

N.H.L. and Players' Union Back on Speaking Terms

Article excerpt

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the National Hockey League planned to get back in touch with the union on Tuesday morning, with more face-to-face talks possible in the afternoon.

The National Hockey League Players' Association have made a counteroffer to the league, and in sharp contrast to the last time that happened, Commissioner Gary Bettman's response was calm and measured, not angrily dismissive.

Whether that was a sign that progress was being made toward ending the N.H.L. lockout was impossible to say. But Bettman said the league would study the proposal the union had submitted Monday night and would get back in touch Tuesday morning, with more face- to-face talks possible in the afternoon.

The union's proposal is "something we've now got to look at very closely," Bettman said at the N.H.L.'s office. "But obviously the process continues."

Details of the union's proposal were not made available.

Jan. 1 was the scheduled date for the Winter Classic, long canceled by the lockout, in which the Detroit Red Wings were to have faced the Toronto Maple Leafs before an expected crowd of more than 100,000 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, and other union officials met with Bettman and other league officials for almost three hours Monday as the union responded to a proposal of almost 300 pages the league had offered Thursday afternoon. The union delegation included five players, among them the players' lead negotiator, Winnipeg defenseman Ron Hainsey. …

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