According to outspoken and often-controversial player agent Allan Walsh, the NHL is trying to sneak in threats of a lockout to NHL players, and in doing so, would be breaking the bylaws of the new CBA.
Walsh took to Twitter on Tuesday evening and posted a series of tweets with his understanding of what the NHL was trying to do in their latest round of negotiations with the players. As the league attempts to find a way to save $300 million before agreeing to a new season, Walsh contends that in doing so, the league is trying to pull a fast one.
The NHL is soft floating the idea with media if no deal with the NHLPA is reached on the Return to Play, it can unilaterally invoke Force Majeure and cancel the 2020-21 season.
In reality, if the NHL cancels the 20-21 season because the Players won’t give another $300M in concessions, that is a LOCKOUT, which is expressly prohibited by CBA Art. 7.1 (b).
If the NHL lawyers are advising owners they have a winning case here, I suggest they go back to law school. Owners will be subjecting themselves to billions in potential damages if they falsely invoke Force Majeure to cancel the season.
Walsh goes on to say that the NHL is flawed with their approach to all of this, asking if the league really believes they can get away with threating a lockout but calling it something else? He suggests that if they continue to go this route, they could have a real legal battle on their hands.
What to Make of Walsh’s Take
Admitting there is the potential for something to be amiss here, one thing we’ll caution is to remember that Walsh is a player agent. He’s going to explain things from the perspective of the players. That may or may not mean everything he writes is impartial.
He contends it’s unfair to demand an additional $300M in concessions from players after negotiating the financial terms of the 20-21 season DURING the pandemic and just a few short months ago. He also notes that the NHL is trying to dupe the players when really, it seems more like the league is likely just strong-arming them.
Either way, it’s a nasty situation and one that probably won’t have a pretty ending, with someone left unhappy.
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