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Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 05:25 GMT
NHL season in balance
The National Hockey League presents its first proposal since December in a bid to resolve the pay dispute saga.
Talks between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Union continued on Thursday, amid rumours that the season would be cancelled.

The players rejected a latest proposal to resolve the pay dispute, fuelling talk that an impasse had been reached.

But a short NHL statement stated that "a bargaining meeting" had since taken place, to be continued on Friday.

"In deference to the process, there will be no comment and no further update is expected tonight," it said.

The club owners want a wage cap, worried about their salary expenditure, while the players' union said it will never accept such a proposal.

If the dispute is not resolved then the NHL may be cancelled for a season.

The latest proposal was to guarantee players 53% of the league's earnings and also allow them to share in NHL profits over a "negotiated level on a 50/50 basis."

"The proposal features the establishment of a profit-sharing plan in which the players and clubs would share fairly in the health and profitability of the industry," the NHL said in a statement.

The offer also included a floating team payroll range, that would have a floor of $32m (17m) and a cap of $42m (22m).

Other ideas in the proposal included a revised salary arbitration system and the proposed reduction in the age for unrestricted free agency to 30.





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