NHL News: Force Majeure? Neither Side Wants the 2020-21 NHL Season Cancelled Though
Can the NHL owners have 'force majeure' applied if they cancel the 2020-21 NHL season? Neither side wants to lose the season though.
Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

TSN: Darren Dreger notes on Insider Trading that NHL commission is also having to deal with issues from the ownership side of things and not just from the players side.

“There’s been some speculation, you know what if the owners decide that they can’t go in ’20-’21 they cancel the season. Does that put the Players’ Association in a position where they can challenge that move in federal court, effectively calling it an illegal lockout? But the owners say if that’s the case then force majeure would be applied, it is a pandemic. And the NHL believes that in the spirit of their existing agreement, they’ve got cancellation protection. And if they had to cancel, they wouldn’t have to make do on the player salaries. But nobody wants to cancel ’20-’21.”

  • Allan Walsh: “The NHL is soft floating the idea with media if no deal with the NHLPA is reached on the Return to Play, it can unilaterally invoke Force Majeure and cancel the 2020-21 season.”
  • Allan Walsh: “There are so many flaws to this, I don’t know where to start. Does the NHL really think it can demand an additional $300M in concessions from players after negotiating the financial terms of the 20-21 season DURING the pandemic 4 months ago?”
  • Allan Walsh: “The Players agreed to accept 72% of their contracts due to the pandemic. NHL owners cannot now assert they don’t like the deal, demand $300M more from the Players and if the Players don’t give in, cancel the season by invoking Force Majeure?”
  • Allan Walsh: “In reality, if the NHL cancels the 20-21 season because the Players won’t give another $300M in concessions, that is a LOCKOUT, which is expressly prohibited by CBA Art. 7.1 (b).”
  • Allan Walsh: “If the NHL lawyers are advising owners they have a winning case here, I suggest they go back to law school. Owners will be subjecting themselves to billions in potential damages if they falsely invoke Force Majeure to cancel the season. End”
  • Allan Walsh: “One more point. What about the NHL owners who also own NBA teams where both teams play in the same buildings? The NBA regular season is starting Dec. 22nd. However, the NBA owners who also own NHL teams will invoke Force Majeure due to the pandemic and cancel the NHL season?”

Pierre LeBrun adds that the players are sticking to their guns that the Memorandum of Understanding on the CBA extension they agreed to back in July should not be changed. The NHLPAs Return to Play committee are talking regularly.

“One member of that committee telling me today that, you know, he’s frustrated by the lack of urgency that he perceives from the NHL side. That this should be the time that both sides firm up plans for the season. And that’s not happening because of this financial stalemate. So we’ll see where this goes but certainly the players feel that time is being wasted right now.”