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CHL reaches labor agreement

Komets GM happy deal didn’t go down to wire

Komets general manager David Franke never doubted a collective bargaining agreement between the Central Hockey League and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association would be ratified.

He just worried it would come later rather than sooner.

So it was with a measure of relief that a two-year CBA was finalized Friday and unveiled Tuesday.

“I think the biggest thing is that it’s done now, there’s a two-year deal in place, and we don’t have to wait until the night before the first game or anything,” Franke said. “We don’t have to keep wondering.”

Because they didn’t join the CHL until June, the Komets and the three other teams that were part of the IHL – Dayton, Quad City and Bloomington – largely remained outside of the negotiations, Fort Wayne president Michael Franke said.

However, David Franke said, “We really didn’t see anything that surprised us.”

CHL teams will work with a salary cap approximate to $11,000 per week, about $1,000 less than it would have been in the IHL.

The $11,000 figure isn’t fixed since there are allowances teams can take advantage of to pay their players. For example, they can have two players deemed offseason employees, and they can be paid outside the salary cap. One such player for the Komets, David Franke confirmed, is goaltender Nick Boucher. Teams can also get a credit against their highest-paid player, David Franke said, so that only half his salary counts against the cap.

CHL teams can carry 19 players on their active rosters and dress 18 for games.

Teams can have five veteran players with 301 or more games on their record at the beginning of the season, though that number can actually be ballooned to eight. Goaltenders don’t count on the veteran limit, and an extra veteran can be added if he was on the roster in 2009-10.

Not including goalies, the Komets have three veterans – forwards P.C. Drouin and Leo Thomas and defenseman Guy Dupuis.

“Having the ability to reach this agreement and continue to operate under stable labor/management relations was an opportunity that could not be overlooked,” PHPA executive director Larry Landon said in a statement. “Both sides worked tirelessly to come to terms on an agreement, which built upon the existing framework negotiated in the inaugural CBA.”

Notes: The Komets expect to end up selling between 3,400 and 3,600 season tickets, compared with 3,506 last season. … The Komets were unable to schedule a third exhibition game. They will play host to Dayton on Oct. 7 and play at Dayton on Oct. 9. … If the Komets need a fill-in this season, they may look to Konstantin Shafranov, 41, who played 58 games last season.