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REPORT STATES LAWSUIT IS COMING IF 2020-21 SEASON IS CANCELLED

It appears players are prepared to take the league to court if the 2020-21 NHL season ends up cancelled. According to TSN's Rick Westhead, the NHLPA, the union representing players, is investigating whether "to file an unfair labour practice complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or pursue a grievance with an arbitrator if the NHL decides to cancel the upcoming season,"

Westhead said should the upcoming season not take place, "a complaint to either the NLRB or an arbitrator would be the process the NHLPA would follow to try to get players paid."

The NHL continues to stick to its plan of starting the season on January 1st of 2021. That seems highly unlikely given the current date and the fact that training camps would still need to be held. There has also been no clear plan presented (whether players would be in mini-bubbles, at home arenas, etc), which is sure to worry team players. The league is asking players to defer more of their salary and commit more to esgrow than their union already agreed to in a new collective bargaining agreement signed just a few months ago, which complicates matter even further.

According to Westhead:



"In an effort to force the NHL to pay the salaries of its players even if games are not held, several labour lawyers said in interviews with TSN that the NHLPA could either file a complaint with the U.S. NLRB (players on Canadian franchises would be included in such a filing) or file a grievance with an arbitrator. Both moves have their advantages, the lawyers said."

"Article 5 of the CBA says the league is within its rights, 'to determine when, where, how and under what circumstances it wishes to operate, suspend. ..." a season."

"Article 7, however, says the NHL cannot lock out players."

“Neither the league nor any club shall engage in a lockout during the term of this agreement,” the CBA says."


A cancelled season and potential lawsuit are sure to cause some very bad blood between team owners and players going forward.

TIM TUCKER
DECEMBER 3, 2020  (20H03)
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