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NHL team owners, players in talks to end lockout

NEW YORK (AFP) –

The NHL has wiped out the Winter Classic outdoor game that had been scheduled for January 1 as a result of the stalemate

File photo shows the Philadelphia Flyers ahead of their NHL Winter Classic game against the New York Rangers in January. NHL owners and players were in further negotiations aimed at securing a new contract and ending the lockout that has already cost hundreds of regular-season games.

National Hockey League owners and players were in further negotiations aimed at securing a new contract and ending the lockout that has already cost hundreds of regular-season games.

Tuesday’s seven hours of talks were followed by more than five hours of bargaining on Wednesday at an undisclosed location in New York City.

Neither side divulged details of the talks, but said they would continue on Thursday.

“The National Hockey League’s negotiating committee met with representatives of the National Hockey League Players’ Association for approximately 5-1/2 hours today,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

“Meetings are scheduled to resume. We do not intend to comment on the substance or subject matter of today’s negotiations.”

Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, said: “The National Hockey League’s negotiating committee met with representatives of the National Hockey League Players’ Association for approximately 5-1/2 hours today.”

Added NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr: “The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues. We look forward to resuming talks (Thursday).”

Club owners and players have remained deadlocked on how to divide $3.3 billion in revenues since the old contract expired on September 15.

The league has already wiped out the first 326 regular-season games through November 30 and the Winter Classic outdoor game that had been scheduled for New Year’s Day as a result of the stalemate.

With 26.5 percent of games already scrapped, the latest talks were seen as a hopeful step in trying to avoid a repeat of the bitter 2004-2005 dispute, when an entire season was lost to money issues for the only time in North American sport history.

More games figure to be wiped out if the sides cannot close out a deal within the next two weeks.

The NHL reportedly has revised its plan to allow players to receive the value of their existing contracts with money from owners rather than from fellow players, but the “make-whole” plan has yet to be agreed upon.

Players made 57 percent of revenue in the last deal but owners hope to follow their NFL and NBA counterparts in forcing players to accept a 50-50 revenue split in the new deal.

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