The NHLPA has officially notified the NHL that they have rejected the League's offer of extending the current Collective Bargaining Agreement three years in exchange for allowing players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The officially rejection was first reported by The Canadian Press.
"So hopefully we'll still be able to conclude an agreement to go to the Olympics," NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr told The Canadian Press. "We still think it's important and we'll go from there."
Multiple sources told TFP two weeks ago that the NHLPA was expected to reject the NHL's offer, citing escrow as the primarily point of concern for the players.
Fehr told the CP that the players did not take a lot of time to reject the idea, verbally presented by the NHL.
"You've got to understand," Fehr said. "For us to get into bargaining, you have to go back to the players and you've got to do the basic things. 'Here's all the basic provisions of the agreement. Here's what happened since the last time. This is what might need to be changed or modified.'"
"Then you have to discuss (that) with the players. You've got to figure out what they want. Then you would have to enter into discussions (with the league) and see if there was anything there."
The NHL first raised concerns over having to pay the full amounts for the players' travel, insurance and hospitality, but the IOC later changed their stance and offered to cough up the $10 million to cover those costs.
After that $10 million was presented to the NHL, they later pitched the NHLPA their latest offer.
Sources have suggested to TFP that some members, both at the player and executive level, in the NHLPA are considering the idea of presenting the NHL with a counter proposal that would include a soft cap on the annual escrow percentage with a spillover onto the following season until the numbers even out. It's unclear if the NHL would consider such a proposal.
A number of NHL players, namely Alex Ovechkin and Vladimir Tarasenko, have insisted that they will be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics if called upon by their respective country with or without an agreement between the IOC, IIHF, NHL and NHLPA.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has indicated that in order for NHL players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, an agreement would need to be in place by the end of January.