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NHL, union end talks; revenue not discussed

The National Hockey League (NHL) and union representing its locked-out players concluded three days of meetings on Sunday without discussing key economic issues that threaten the entire season.

No additional meetings have been scheduled, with both sides far apart on how to divide a US$3.3 billion revenue pie.

“We did not discuss core economic issues, as was the plan,” NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) special counsel Steve Fehr told reporters in New York after five hours of meetings.

“We discussed in the health and safety area, including more discussion of drug testing, medical care etc.”

The NHL and players union were expected to hold discussions among themselves over the next day or so.

Neither NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, who is also Steve Fehr's brother, nor NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman participated in Sunday's session although they talked privately on Friday and Saturday. “We need some movement on the system issues,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said, referring to the main economic sticking points. The NHL locked out its players on Sept. 16 when the previous labor deal expired. The NHL's fourth work stoppage in 20 years has already forced the league to cancel its entire pre-season schedule and Daly hinted early regular-season games could be in jeopardy. “As the calendar ticks along and we get into October, we obviously are going to have to start making those decisions,” he said.

The regular season is scheduled to start Oct. 11.

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