ROSEMONT, Ill. — Donald Fehr, head of the NHL Players Association, said Friday the players are prepared for the eventuality of an owners’ lockout if a collective bargaining agreement can’t be reached.
Fehr wrapped up a meeting held over parts of two days with about 40 players at a hotel outside of O’Hare International Airport.
Fehr said it’s no surprise for players to hear about the possibility of a lockout, especially since the NFL and NBA have recently weathered shutdowns.
He said players fully understand what the ramifications of a work stoppage would mean, since most of them either lived through or have teammates who were playing when the NHL shut down in 2004.
‘‘It was interested. It was focused. It was sobered,’’ Fehr said, describing the tone of the meetings. ‘‘Players understand what is going on, understand what the issues are and understand how the owners’ proposal will affect them, understand how this compares to what happened seven years ago.’’
The league wants the players to give up a significant amount of salary while the union maintains that goal would be best accomplished with the wealthy teams doing more to help struggling counterparts.
Fehr is scheduled to resume formal discussions with the league Aug. 22.
The CBA runs out on Sept. 15 — by which time commissioner Gary Bettman wants a deal in place. The regular season is set to start Oct. 11.