NHL Makes New Contract Offer to Players' Union

Although Texas isn't a state known for outdoor hockey rinks, many people in the state enjoy watching or participating in the sport. That's why many were disappointed to learn that the Texas Stars season had been put on hold due to a player lockout this season.

In one of the most highly-publicized employment contract disputes of the year, professional hockey has been on lockout after the NHL's collective bargaining agreement with the National Hockey League Players' Association expired about a month before the season was set to begin and the sides could not reach a new agreement.

The lockout has led to hundreds of NHL games being cancelled between the planned start of the 2012-13 season in mid-October at least through Jan. 14, 2013. However, today news broke that the NHL made a new offer to the NHLPA, which could mean a portion of the season could still be saved if the parties can agree.

Today's announcement came after weeks of little to no movement in lockout talks between officials from the two sides and mediators. According to a report from ESPN, all that changed recently when league representatives came out with a new offer -- one that supposedly lessens its restrictions on individual contract rights.

Hopefully, this offer will bring the parties back to the bargaining table, although insiders report that the parties' positions are still far apart. For example, the players' last offer asked for eight-year cap on contract lengths while the league's most recent proposal reportedly caps contracts at six years.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the season will not only be lost, but it is likely that the players will dissolve the NHLPA through a "disclaimer of interest" and sue the league for antitrust violations.

Source: USA TODAY, "NHL owners make new labor proposal to players," Kevin Allen, Dec. 28, 2012