NHL CBA agreement: Hockey gets labor peace in COVID-19 era

If there’s one underlying theme to the collective bargaining agreement that will ensure labor peace in the NHL for at least the next six seasons, it’s certainty. And when you’re in the throes of a worldwide pandemic that has thrown almost everything you’ve ever known into disarray, that’s a precious commodity.

There are some aspects of this deal that the owners will not particularly like. And there are a lot more reasons for the players to dislike this agreement even more. But both of them held their noses and approved it because, in reality, they had almost no choice. So the next time you get caught up in putting a pox on both their houses for being greedy, pigheaded and shortsighted, remember today. Because both the owners and the players did an imperfect deal in order to save their league.

But back to the certainty factor. The owners continue to have it when it comes to player costs, now more than ever. The salary cap will remain flat at $81.5 million next season and likely won’t rise much beyond that through the life of this deal. The players, meanwhile, know exactly how much they’ll be paying in escrow for this season and each of the next six, so there’s that. And fans can go to sleep tonight knowing they won’t have to worry about billionaires battling millionaires for at least the next 2,258 days. And they’ll also have the comfort of knowing that they’ll be able to watch the ultimate best-on-best tournament in 2022 and 2026 with the NHL returning to the Olympics.

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