"No one gets to choose what labor laws apply to them in this province," Blair said. "The law is the law is the law."
He said players from the Oilers and Flames never agreed to forgo their rights under the Alberta Labour Code.
"It applies to every employer and employee," he said. "That is the starting point."
NHL lawyer Peter Gall pointed out that 23 of the 30 teams are in the United States and work under the same rules because labor laws there are federally regulated.
If the Alberta Labour Board rules in favor of the NHL, then nothing will change from its current status. But if the Board rules in favor of the NHLPA then both Calgary and Edmonton will have to pay their players through the lockout and allow the use of their facilities, regardless of whether or not the NHL and the NHLPA agree to a new CBA.
Some believe one of the main reasons why the two sides have yet to meet formally this week is because they're waiting for a resolution from this hearing. According to Strang, one should be coming early next week.
And even if that's not the case, we should still expect formal negotiations to resume in the near future. The two sides haven't had a formal discussion since before the September 15th deadline passes, and since they have only have phone an e-mail conversations. Again, that's a hell of a lot further along than they were in 2004, but it's still not on the fast track to getting a deal done.
The NHL cancelled all preseason games through September 30th last week, and with the start of the regular season in early October, those dates are now in serious peril as well.