The Montreal Canadiens and the NHLPA have reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that will give the team, which plays in the Canadian Hockey League, the right to move into an NHL stadium.
“The players have asked us to reach this agreement,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement.
“We have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with the players and the owners.
The Habs will continue to play at Bell Centre, and we will continue working to ensure that the team remains a tenant of the Bell Centre.”
The Canadiens announced the agreement late Tuesday, saying it was finalized Monday.
They will be allowed to move to the Bell Center by the end of the 2020-21 season.
Bergevin, who has been in charge of the team since February of last year, said he would keep the same team name and logo.
He also said the team would not be changing its name from the Canadiens to the Habs.
“The Canadiens will remain the Canadiens,” he said.
“It is the right and the duty of the club to continue the name and the logo.”
The agreement, if finalized, will give Bergevins new bargaining power to force teams to sell their stadiums, which are located in the downtown core of the city.
Under the new agreement, the team could seek a new lease at a location near Bell Centre.
Habs president Geoff Molson said the club will have the option to move if the new collective agreement is not in place by the start of the 2021-22 season.
The team also would have the right of first refusal on any new arena that the league chooses to build, Molson added.
Under the current deal, the Haps were required to buy out their players for about $1.2 billion in a package of loans, which the team is expected to use to make a profit.
Under this new agreement that includes the financing of the arena and relocation, the NHL can use the loans to cover the remaining $1 billion of the debt.
In the past, the league has had a hard time making payments to the teams and the players, as the team was often broke and players were owed far more than they were earning.
In the past year, Molstons negotiations with the NHL have been rocky.
He had to renegotiate a deal with the Hays Capitals in March that would have given the Haxanians a significant bump in their salary cap to $6 million in 2019-20, which would have allowed them to be able to take on more players.
Molson, who also served as general manager of the New York Rangers, said the Halsons deal will help make the team more competitive in the East and in the NHL’s western markets.
The Haps have been on a tear in the past two seasons, finishing the year with a 16-4-1 record.
The Habs have not won a playoff series since the 2011-12 season.
They are playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the 2009-10 season.