Skip to content

Oh good, now pensions are an issue in CBA negotiations

Dec 6, 2012, 1:49 PM EDT

Gary Bettman; Bill Daly AP

Throw another contentious issue on the pile that already includes maximum contract lengths and the length of a new CBA between the NHL and NHLPA.

Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonikas reports that owners were incensed Wednesday after the union became fixated on pensions. According to the NHL, it was yet another example of the players’ priorities acting as a “moving target.”

Now, to be fair, it sounds like there was good reason for the players to turn their attention to the matter of pensions – yesterday, the owners tied it to the “make-whole” provision the two sides have been fighting over.

From the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

With “make-whole,” there were reports last night (one of them mine) that the NHL upped its offer from $211 million to $300 million. That’s closer to the NHLPA’s last known request of $393 million. But later, there was a catch — that $50 million of it would be for pension funding. That’s a tricky one and sure to annoy the players.

Due to differing pension laws in the United States and Canada, players based in the U.S. can receive approximately $20,000 more per year in tax-free contributions from their clubs. It’s a nice little selling point for the American squads because if you play north of the 49th, you lose a good chunk of that difference to taxes. Not every player is a multi-millionaire, so that future protection really means something.

Big picture, this is the same argument the two sides have been having with regards to “honoring” current contracts that will be affected when the players’ share of hockey-related revenue is cut from 57 percent to 50. The NHL wants to make up the difference later, the players want it sooner. They’ve inched closer this week, but they’re not there yet.

  1. Stiller43 - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM


  2. woodstakes - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Man, its always something with the owners. “We’ll give you the $300M but use $50M to fund pensions so really we are only upping our offer $39M not $89M to reach $300M, Ok… SIGN HERE!” Nothing on the face is what it appears. As for the players… A LOT of you talk about the “Greedy players at the top.. They don’t care about the little guys.. etc etc etc” Well, HERE is an example of protecting those 3rd & 4th liners. They usually are not multimillionaires so they probably really need this pension later on in life. The NHLPA should stick to their guns on this. This is a real fight for everyone not just the 1% of the 1% who have multi-million dollar 8-10 year deals. So I hope they don’t cave in to much on this. The 3rd and 4th liners need all the protection they can get.. and really THAT’s the reason to have the NHLPA!

    • thailer35 - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      Amen good sir.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      You should also mention that they only offered that $39M + $50M in pension increase if the players accepted the 10 year CBA length. I can see why a longer term would be good (great for us fans) but also why if things aren’t right with the CBA for one side how being stuck in long term is a bad idea.

    • id4joey - Dec 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      Is it really an issue how much a 3rd or 4th liner earns? Is the 3rd or 4th liner living within his means or is he living above his means? That’s the question. A fourth liner on average earns what, 500k let say. 2 years and he’s earned 1 million. C’mon! Give us a break with the poor players. How much will a player who had 5 goals last year earn when the season resumed? 2.5m per year for 5 years. It’s a f en joke,

    • shotzongoal - Dec 6, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Woodstakes The pension plan is a Defined Benefits plan. This plan is payed for 100% by the owners. The extra $50M will come out of the owners pocket into the pension plan. So it doesn’t matter how you look at it all the players get the extra benefit of the $50M. . So the players are getting $300M in total rather than $211M.

      Second, pension benefits are based on several things but mostly on salary and tenure. In other word the 3rd and 4th line players will receive quite a bit less than the “Greedy players at the top” if their salary was quite a be less.

    • badintent - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:41 AM

      GIVE all the players $ 50,000K to retire, it worked for OJ for 6 years.
      over 75 % of the players are broke in 5 years after they retire,dumb smucks

  3. lsxphotog - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    …………………………….I’m out.

  4. antkowiak666 - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    ….and que the FAT LADY!!

    • tbbolts91 - Dec 6, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      You mean blomfeld?

  5. shoobiedoobin - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:23 PM


  6. kitshky - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I dunno, I’m (and yes I realize I’m going to regret saying this the second I hit send) still kind of optimistic this is getting wrapped up… I’d rather they be squabbling over details than nothing at all. Sides, I still believe this is going according the Owners timeline like they’ve wanted all along…

    Of course what the hell do I know, I just kinda miss Rogers Arena.

    • davebabychreturns - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      Yep. They are talking about real issues now instead of making offers they jotted down on a cocktail napkin, or that pull the rug out from under the entire proposal in the last sentence, or offering to give more money with one hand while taking some back with the other..

      • kitshky - Dec 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        Courtesy of the best Vancouver blog out there…

  7. deadrabbit79 - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    @Real_ESPNLeBrun: NHLPA has asked NHL to bring mediators back into the process. League has not agreed to this point…

  8. bricktop02 - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Yes, yeess, yeeeessss, NO!!!

  9. ironmike778 - Dec 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    My favorite league and sport by a mile but at this point I’m rooting for the season to be cancelled. Come back in October ready to go.

  10. shotzongoal - Dec 6, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    The owners and the players have both made it known that they would like to end the lockout in their recent meetings. According to the media tweets and articles there was movement on both side and thing were going smoothly. Some Media said the owners moved quite a lot. Also according to the media tweets and articles the owners were already talking about timelines and scheduling a 55 – 65 game season. Don Fehr knows this sitting on the side and comes back to the meetings. Because of comments on twitter that Bettman stated he wants this tied up by Friday, Fehr decided to push for more changes brings up pensions taking the focus of the core issues. And, even though the Federal Mediators decided the sides were at an impasse he now wants them back in the meetings again. These are delay tactics to put pressure on Bettman. One of the worst things you can do in negations is to show any of your cards and Bettman feeling an agreement was at hand became a little to candid. I just hope Fehr doesn’t over play his hand and negations break down again and more games or the season is canceled.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Well shotzongoal Fehr did what you hoped he wouldn’t and over played his hand.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1776)
  2. P. Kane (1395)
  3. M. Richards (1281)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1267)
  5. N. Backstrom (1124)