August 23, 2004
Open letter to...
Commissioner, National Hockey League
Executive Director, NHL Players' Association
Dear Mr. Bettman & Mr. Goodenow:
With only three weeks remaining until the expiry of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association, hockey fans are losing hope that the 2004-05 NHL season will start on time and fear it may be lost completely.
The NHL Fans' Association has a solution. We propose that the NHL and NHLPA consent this week, in Ottawa, to enter into an agreement that helps resolve this conflict through a Mediation - Arbitration process. This would ensure that the new CBA is completed before the start of the season. A third party mediator/arbitrator would be fair to both parties and would demonstrate a willingness on your part to achieve a new Agreement.
If the first phase of the process (mediation) does not achieve an agreed upon solution, then the mediator would automatically become an arbitrator, with the clout to rule on the terms of a new CBA that does the most to benefit all parties, including fans.
Our 22,000+ Members and many fans at large want this conflict resolved in short order. Our fear is the game we love will be spoiled by both your organization's resolute stances to win at all costs. Please remember that you both have an obligation to keep "the game" strong for fans.
The NHLFA, acting on behalf of the fans, would gladly select a third party, professional mediator/arbitrator on your behalf to ensure both sides receive fair treatment. We are based in Ottawa, so we would welcome the opportunity to meet with one or both of you this week to help further define this proposed process. Please feel free to contact me to arrange a meeting.