NHL Realignment Postponed; NHLPA Refuses to Consent to New Layout

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IJanuary 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to attendees during 'Sports Teams for Social Change,' hosted by Beyond Sport United on September 27, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The NHL released a statement on Friday in regard to re-alignment. The NHL announced that realignment will not occur next season after the NHLPA refused to give consent.

Here is the official statement from NHL.com

The National Hockey League announced today that it will not move forward with implementation of the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format recently approved by the NHL Board of Governors for the 2012-13 NHL season because the NHLPA has refused to provide its consent.

"It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a Plan that an overwhelming majority of our Clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including Players," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.  "We have now spent the better part of four weeks attempting to satisfy the NHLPA’s purported concerns with the Plan with no success.  Because we have already been forced to delay, and as a result are already late in beginning the process of preparing next season’s schedule, we have no choice but to abandon our intention to implement the Realignment Plan and modified Playoff Format for next season." 

"We believe the Union acted unreasonably in violation of the League’s rights.  We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate."

As a result of the League’s decision today, the NHL will maintain its current alignment and Playoff Format for the 2012-13 season.

With the NHL and NHLPA already butting heads, it isn't a good sign considering the collective bargaining agreement expires after this season.

The interesting part of this story is that the NHLPA is made up representatives from each NHL team. This means that the players were not a fan of the new realignment. It is an interesting thought considering the vote for a new plan was passed by the NHL Board of Governors by a 26-4 margin.

I wonder how team owners, ranking officials and other personnel will react to this latest update. Will there be some sort of intervention? I for one hope this issue does not divide the NHL and NHLPA at the next set of CBA negotiations.

Stay tuned to the Bleacher Report NHL page as more news develops.

Tom Urtz, Jr. is an NHL featured columnist. For NHL news, updates and alerts about players:

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