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 time."
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.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press