Players were to gather May 24-26


TORONTO -- The NHL Players' Association will not hold a
scheduled membership meeting at the end of the month because there
has been little change in negotiations with the league on a new
collective bargaining agreement.

The decision was made Friday night after union leaders held a
conference call with team representatives.

"In early April, when we set the May 24-26 meeting dates, we
thought these dates would work well to allow both North American
and European based players to get together," said NHLPA president
Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks. "Since our late-February
meeting with 156 players in Toronto, we decided there is not
sufficient new information to justify another meeting at this

With the overseas hockey seasons completed and the world
championships concluding this weekend in Austria, a large number of
the over-700 NHL players were expected to attend the get-together
in Toronto.

Nearly half of the members spent at least part of the hockey
season playing in Europe and weren't able to attend earlier
meetings that provided updates as the lockout dragged on. But after
three days of negotiations this week between the NHL and the
players' association, the meeting was called off.

The timing is somewhat curious as the league and the union are
slated to have three more days of talks next week in New York. On
Tuesday and Wednesday, the sides will meet in smaller groups in
advance of a full bargaining session Thursday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be in Washington on Wednesday
to testify with other league commissioners at a U.S. congressional
hearing about legislation calling for standard doping tests across
U.S. sports.

Monday will be eight months since the start of the lockout that
wiped out the entire 2004-05 season and the playoffs. Bettman
canceled the season on Feb. 16.