TORONTO | NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said the owners and players are “fairly close” on the subject of revenue sharing but conceded that the sides aren’t close on other topics that would need to be agreed upon to end the NHL lockout.
Fehr called revenue sharing a “fairly major issue.” But it’s clearly not the centerpiece of getting a deal done. He called the three biggest issues right now the “dollars,” player contracting rights and how to adjust to the fact that there won’t be a full 2012-13 season.
Asked if Fehr’s characterization of talks was accurate, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly replied simply: “Yes.”
Revenue sharing probably won’t have as “sizable an impact as the union would prefer,” Fehr said at the Primetime Sports Management Conference at the Westin Harbourside.
Fehr said he thought the sides were close on economics until he heard back from the NHL about what it wanted in regard to splitting hockey-related revenue.
And while there’s disagreement aplenty, Fehr said: “One thing Bill Daly and I agree on, … when the moment is right … a deal will be done very quickly.”
The league and NHL Players’ Association met several times last week in New York City, but reports were that they made little if any progress.
“Some days are diamonds, some days are stones,” Fehr said. “We’re not there yet.”
Fehr spoke on a panel called “labor issues in major league sports” along with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, David Abrams of the Oakland Raiders and Toronto Raptors executive VP of basketball operations Ed Stefanski, moderated by TSN’s Gord Miller.