Annual industry revenue has grown from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion under the expiring deal. Owners asked players to cut their share of hockey related revenue during a six-year proposal. Players are concerned management hasn’t addressed the league’s problems by re-examining the teams’ revenue-sharing formula.
The owners’ latest offer raised the percentage of hockey related revenue given to players from the previous proposal of 46 percent. Initially, the NHL sought to drop the number from the current 57 percent to 43 percent.
In the last negotiations, the players’ association accepted a salary-cap system for the first time and absorbed a 24 percent rollback on all existing contracts.
Having made those concessions, the union doesn’t think it should have to make more this time after a period of record financial growth.
Bettman cited the on-ice success for teams, noting that there have been seven different champions over the course of this contract, and all clubs but the Toronto Maple Leafs qualified for the playoffs at least once.
‘‘We've had seven years of incredible competitive balance,’’ Bettman said. ‘‘The game on the ice has never been better. That is a function of this system. The system as originally negotiated needs some adjustments. It turned out to be too rich a deal for the first seven years. We lived with it, but I'm not going to apologize for saying we need to adjust it.
‘‘The thought was somehow they got slammed in the negotiations last time. They didn't. We made at the time what we thought was a fair deal. It actually turned out to be more fair than it should have been.’’