B-SENS 2004-05 SEASON NOT THREATENED BY NHL LABOR SITUATION
RECENT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT EXTENSION UNDERSCORES POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AHL & PHPA.
Binghamton Senators fans can rest assured that the 2004 – 2005 AHL season will go on as planned, with an 80 game schedule, regardless of the possible labor disagreement that may arise when the NHL collective bargaining agreement expires on September 15, 2004.
Per Tom Mitchell, Binghamton Senators Executive Vice President, "The labor situation in the AHL is healthy thanks to an extension of the collective bargaining agreement between the AHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA)."
The existing collective bargaining agreement between the league and the PHPA was extended 2 years, through 2007, on June 9, 2004. Because the players in the NHL and the AHL are represented by different unions, any problems arising from the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Player’s Association (NHLPA) will not affect the AHL season.
During the 1994 NHL lockout, the AHL maintained a full 80 game schedule. Binghamton finished in first place in the Southern Division for the 1994-1995 season, finishing with 93 points.
“The extension of the AHL/PHPA collective bargaining agreement will ensure continued stability within the American Hockey League and is an excellent example of labor and management working together for the common good of both,” said Mitchell.
Both the AHL’s Board of Governors, of which Mitchell is a member, and the overwhelming majority of AHL players ratified the extension.
The following is from the AHL press release regarding the extension:
“We have enjoyed a very positive relationship with our players and the PHPA for many years,” said David Andrews, President and CEO of the American Hockey League. “Our existing CBA has been working effectively, and an extension of that agreement with amendments to enhance our competitive product and increase player benefits is a very positive step for the AHL, our players and our fans.”
“The opportunity to extend our collective agreement with the American Hockey League was one we could not let pass,” said Larry Landon, Executive Director of the PHPA. “The protection of player rights and benefits provides our membership with long-term stability.”
The two-year extension of the existing CBA provides for increased contribution towards health and welfare benefits, according to the AHL, as well as amendments which increase licensing fees to the PHPA while providing enhanced player likeness rights to the AHL.
Also included in the new agreement is an employee assistance plan for the players, an increase in the AHL’s All-Star break to four days, as well as per diem and minimum player salary increases.
The AHL roster regulation which specifies the number of "development players" on the 17-man playing roster has been amended to increase the minimum number of such skaters from 10 to 11 in 2004-05 and to 12 in 2005-06 and beyond.
Since its inception in 1967, the PHPA continues to serve as an advocate for player interests. Currently, it is the U.S. NLRB-recognized collective bargaining unit for over 1,400 individuals on 59 teams in the American Hockey League and the ECHL.