The league and NHLPA now turn to dealing with the nuts and bolts of the new Taft-Hartley plan, to be administered by a benefits committee comprising three or four representatives of both the NHL and the players' association, said Alex Dagg, the union's director of operations based in Toronto.
Through an e-mail from John Dellapina, NHL spokesman, league CFO Craig Harnett in New York confirmed the plan will be jointly administered with the players' association through the committee. Neither Mr. Hartnett nor the NHL would provide further details or comment.
League players previously had two defined contribution plans — the National Hockey League Retirement Plan (United States), New York, and the NHL Club Pension Plan and Trust, Toronto. The U.S. plan, a 401(k), had $22.6 million in assets as of June 30, 2011, according to the league's latest Form 5500 filing. The size of the Canadian plan could not be learned.
The DC plans, created during the last league lockout in 2005, will be restructured into voluntary contribution plans and neither plan will be terminated, Ms. Dagg said.
The league's 30 teams will contribute to the plan, although total contributions will be based on the players' share of overall league revenue, so the amount won't always be the same depending on overall player salaries. The new agreement calls for players to get half of all league revenue; that's down from the 54% to 57% range players received under the 2005 agreement. The league's salary cap also was reduced, to $63.4 million per team in 2013-"14 from this season's $70.2 million.
John McGowan Jr., Cleveland-based partner at the law firm of Baker & Hostetler LLP who has advised the National Football League Management Council on pension issues, said that although the assets for contributions are budgeted as part of the 50% players' share of revenue, the assets themselves are from the clubs and players would not contribute to the plan.
Specific tax issues to be studied are the deductibility of contributions by clubs, their applicability to employment taxes and the ability to defer taxes on player benefits until they are paid out.
Although clubs would be responsible for contributions to the plan, Mr. McGowan said, those assets might not come directly from club coffers. In the NFL, for example, contributions to the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, New York, are funded through television revenue allocated to each of the league's 32 teams. The plan had about $1.4 billion in assets as of March 2012, the latest data available, according to the website of the NFL Players Association. And in baseball, contributions use allocations from the proceeds of each year's All-Star Game, he said.
Teams might use revenues from TV contracts as their pension contribution source.