NHL referees and linesmen may be entering the 2019-20 season without a contract.

The National Hockey League and the NHL Officials Association (NHLOA) are still in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.  Their previous deal, signed in 2014, expired in August.


Discussions between the two sides have been described as “amicable” as they work towards a new contract.

Expect no impact on the ice, as the officials are anticipated to continue working – both preseason as well as the start of the regular season, if necessary – under the terms of their prior CBA.  Final negotiations on their last agreement were hammered out during the preseason though not formally signed until after the 2014-15 season was underway. This time around should be no different.

Similarly, their 2010 agreement which ran through 2014, was settled just three days prior to the start of the season. Those negotiations were a bit more contentious, with the NHL going so far as a develop a contingency plan to utilize minor league officials if the NHL stripes opted not to take the ice.  Mercifully, that wasn’t necessary.  Nor does it appear it will be this time out.



Officials did strike back in November of 1993, frustrated at a lack of progress on a new deal with the league.  The strike lasted 17 days, with the NHL forced to use replacement referees and linesmen called up from minor leagues and junior hockey.

Once the terms have been finalized, the new CBA would need to be voted on by the members of the NHL Officials Association and approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors.