NEW YORK — In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press on Monday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged that his union was “under duress” and said he was committed to “making changes” in the union as a result of the players’ strike and the lockout.
Bettman said he is “deeply disappointed” by the players actions, but that the players have done “a good job of communicating and showing respect for their union and the other players.”
Bettman also said the NHLPA’s position on the lockout has not changed, saying the union is still committed to a negotiated settlement.
The NHL, which is owned by the NHL Players Association, has been locked out of games for five consecutive weeks, and has been under threat of being forced to cancel all upcoming home games.
The union has not agreed to any changes to its contract.
Bettman’s comments came on the same day the union released a letter of support for the players, with players and management agreeing to “respect the wishes of our players and fans” during the lockout, and to “work together toward a resolution that serves all parties.”
The NHLPA said in a statement Monday that the union has “repeatedly” communicated that it will not compromise on our demands and is committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement for the franchise and the players.