FRESNO, Calif. - The Professional Hockey Players’ Association and the ECHL are pleased to announce that the PHPA Membership and the ECHL Board of Governors have ratified the major points of an extension to the current ECHL-PHPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). While the complete CBA language is currently being finalized, the ratification of this document further entrenches stable labor-management relations between the aforementioned parties.

The major points of this CBA extension include:

- Year over year cost of living increases to the major economic components of the Agreement

- Exemption of Goaltenders from the veteran rule

- Enhanced procedure to deliver timely, professional care of injured players

- Commitment to provide assistance for the PHPA Career Enhancement Program, which will assist players with their transition to life after hockey

- 3-year term ending June 30, 2009.

“This extension of the current Collective Agreement further solidifies the ECHL’s development value within the sport, as they continue to serve as the premier “AA” league for professional hockey players,” said Larry Landon, PHPA Executive Director. “Securing year over year increases enhances and improves the quality of living afforded our Membership, while simultaneously providing the League and it’s Member Clubs with a framework that should result in greater stability and growth.

“We are delighted to announce a three (3) year extension to our current CBA. We feel it is a fair and equitable arrangement for both our players and our fans,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “It provides cost of living increases for all our players and enhances their benefits while allowing our owners cost certainty and the ability to move forward and make plans for the 2006-07 season.”

Both the PHPA and the ECHL Negotiating Committees have been conducting CBA negotiations since August 2005. Once the language has been finalized, this extension of the current CBA will take effect June 1, 2006.