The Winter Classic is the crown jewel of the NHL, but it is now close to being called off.
Bill Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner, said on Monday that the two sides have no plans to meet despite the fact that the league is “ready and willing” to meet as soon as necessary, ESPN reported.
“No new news. We withdrew our most recent proposal on Friday, and now we are spending time thinking about our next proposal and how best to get closer to a resolution,” Daly told ESPN by email. “We hope the union is doing the same thing. Given the fact that the union refused even to discuss our last proposal, it would appear that we still have a large gulf to bridge.”
The revelation that the Winter Classic could be canceled comes after what seemed like a promising development. The fight over league revenue appeared close to being resolved when owners made an offer to split the revenue 50-50. This led to a meeting, but owners rejected three proposals made by players, who are seeking guarantees that their current contracts will be honored.
NHL Players’ Association special counsel Steve Fehr said despite rhetoric from the league and owners, the players are willing to negotiate as well.
“Since the last bargaining meeting on Oct. 18, we have consistently made it clear to the league that we are ready to meet and are willing to discuss all ideas, certainly including their last proposal,” he told ESPN. “The league has unfortunately continued to decline to meet. Their position makes it difficult to move the process forward, as it is obviously hard to make progress without talking.”