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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Strike threatens new season

The 2004-05 NHL season remains in jeopardy after talks between the league and the players' union over a new labour agreement.

The two sides have until 15 September to reach a new deal, but so far the signs are not good.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on that date, and if a new one is not thrashed out, the entire season could be lost.

Ted Saskin, the players' association senior director, said: "The only thing they're proposing is something they know is unacceptable to us.

"They haven't been willing to engage in any compromise solutions so I can't really have any sense of optimism."

The NHL, which submitted six "concepts" to the union at a meeting in July, said its models could guarantee profits for club owners and give players a fair share.

According to a study commissioned by the league, 19 of the league's 30 teams had operating losses in 2002-2003.

Player costs of 75 percent of revenue diminish, the NHL argues. any possibility of restoring a feasible business model.

"Unfortunately, the union has not expressed an interest in exploring any change to the current system that could make that vision a reality," said NHL executive vice president and chief legal officer Bill Daly.

"Instead, the union seems exclusively committed to preserving the status quo - or a system which resembles the status quo as closely as possible."

The two sides will meet again on 17 August in New York, less than two months before the regular season is scheduled to begin on 13 October.

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