- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

TORONTO (AP) - The National Hockey League Players’ Association has made its first proposal in the latest round of collective bargaining talks with the NHL.

The union said its proposal to the league includes a smaller percentage of revenues for players and an expanded revenue sharing program to help struggling teams.

Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, said the proposal could “stabilize the industry.”

Fehr said players are set to surrender as much as $465 million in revenue under the proposal if the league continues to grow at an average rate. He says that number could balloon to $800 million if the league grows at the same rate it has over the last two seasons.

“We do believe that the proposal the players made today, once implemented, can produce a stable industry … that can give us a chance to move beyond the recurring labor strife that has plagued the NHL the last two decades,” Fehr said.

Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Ottawa’s Jason Spezza were among 23 players that participated in the meeting Tuesday in Toronto.

“I like it a lot,” Crosby said of the proposal. “I think, as Don said, it’s addressing the issues that the league has. (We’re) making sure as players that we do our part to help those (struggling) teams out, but also holding the teams accountable.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to take both (sides) to do that.”

An NHL proposal last month called for a significant decrease for players in revenue share by introducing new contract restrictions, including a five-year cap on deals. The NHLPA has proposed a three-year deal for a CBA with an option for a fourth, Fehr said.

The proposal would have the players accepting a lower percentage of the revenues over the first three years. The fourth year would see the CBA revert to its current terms.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday he has received the union’s proposal and hopes to continue talks Wednesday.

“Our hope is we can take care of business in the next month,” Bettman said. “That’s our goal.”

Bettman said the owners would carefully consider the latest proposal.

“It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two, and as a result we’re going to need to take a little bit of time to evaluate it, understand it,” Bettman said. “If we’re going to respond, we want to respond appropriately.”

The current deal expires Sept. 15.

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