Earlier this afternoon the National Hockey League announced that they would not be moving forward with the proposed plan for realignment next season. For Jets fans that means we will spend another season in the Southeast division with Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Carolina. The proposed plan had four “conferences” with Winnipeg grouped in with their geographic counterparts Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Detroit, Minnesota, and Columbus.
Below find the statements from the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association.
True North Sports & Entertainment will be issuing their official statement tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to IllegalCurve.com and the Illegal Curve Hockey Show from 12-3pm on TSN 1290 for all of the latest on realignment and the Winnipeg Jets.
Here is the official release from the National Hockey League:
NHL REALIGNMENT DELAYED; NHLPA DENIES CONSENT NEW YORK (January 6, 2012) – The National Hockey League announced today that it will not move forward with implementation of the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format recently approved by the NHL Board of Governors for the 2012-13 NHL season because the NHLPA has refused to provide its consent.
“It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a Plan that an overwhelming majority of our Clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including Players,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the Plan with no success. Because we have already been forced to delay, and as a result are already late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format for next season.”
“We believe the Union acted unreasonably in violation of the League’s rights. We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate.”
As a result of the League’s decision today, the NHL will maintain its current alignment and Playoff Format for the 2012-13 season.
Here is the official release from the National Hockey League Players Association:
Toronto (January 6, 2012) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr issued the following statement this evening regarding the League’s realignment proposal: “On the evening of December 5, 2011, the NHL informed the NHLPA that they proposed to put in place a four-conference format beginning with the 2012-13 season. As realignment affects Players’ terms and conditions of employment, the CBA requires the League to obtain the NHLPA’s consent before implementation. Over the last month, we have had several discussions with the League and extensive dialogue with Players, most recently on an Executive Board conference call on January 1. Two substantial Player concerns emerged: (1) whether the new structure would result in increased and more onerous travel; and (2) the disparity in chances of making the playoffs between the smaller and larger divisions.
In order to evaluate the effect on travel of the proposed new structure, we requested a draft or sample 2012-13 schedule, showing travel per team. We were advised it was not possible for the League to do that. We also suggested reaching an agreement on scheduling conditions to somewhat alleviate Player travel concerns (e.g., the scheduling of more back-to-back games, more difficult and lengthier road trips, number of border crossings, etc.), but the League did not want to enter into such a dialogue. The travel estimation data we received from the League indicates that many of the current Pacific and Central teams, that have demanding travel schedules under the current format, could see their travel become even more difficult. On the playoff qualification matter, we suggested discussing ways to eliminate the inherent differences in the proposed realignment, but the League was not willing to do so.
The League set a deadline of January 6, 2012 for the NHLPA to provide its consent to the NHL’s proposal. Players’ questions about travel and concerns about the playoff format have not been sufficiently addressed; as such, we are not able to provide our consent to the proposal at this time. We continue to be ready and willing to have further discussions should the League be willing to do so.”
True North Sports & Entertainment will be issuing their official statement regarding realignment tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to IllegalCurve.com, follow us on twitter @IllegalCurve and listen to Illegal Curve Hockey Show Saturday from 12-3pm on TSN 1290 for all of the latest on realignment and the Winnipeg Jets.