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What Does "Make Whole" Mean in the NHL Lockout?

If you've been following the 2012 NHL lockout, you will have encountered many references to the "make whole" question.

Here's what it means.

As one of its primary goals, the league wants to establish a 50/50 revenue split with the players.

That means the salary cap and salary floor will be set each season to ensure that 50 per cent of the NHL's "hockey-related" revenue is paid out in player salaries.

This would represent a significant drop in the players' take. Last season they got 57 per cent of revenue.

The players have agreed to the half-and-half split, in principle.

But making the transition to the new system is problematic.

Reducing the players' revenue share to 50 per cent (from 57 per cent in 2011-12) means a much lower salary cap. Many teams have current payrolls that wouldn't fit under that cap.

The NHL Players' Association insists that it will not agree to pay cuts. All current contracts have to be honored at full dollar value.

To address the issue, the NHL proposed to begin the new CBA by making a temporary cut salaries in existing contracts.

Salaries would be reduced in the first two years, to help teams adjust to the new system. But those salaries would be "made whole" via deferred payments in future years.

These "make whole" or "transition" payments would be covered by teams, and would be paid over and above the players' 50 per cent revenue share as calculated every season.

The players have agreed to that formula.

But the two sides remain far apart on how much "make whole" money the league must set aside to guarantee full value for all current contracts.

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