Wanting a salary cap, limiting roster size, and negotiating medical insurance were the main reasons for the NHL strike of 1993-94 where labor gained unrestricted free agency and medical insurance, but lost arbitration and the amount of fines.

One of the main reasons for the strike was management wanted a salary cap. A salary cap gives management a limit on how much the pay the players. When the players didnít agree, management wanted a luxury tax that was very similar to a salary cap. "They donít think we realize what they are trying to do (Gretzsky in Reuters)." The salary cap was the main issue throughout the negotiations. Although management put up a good argument, the idea of a salary cap was thrown out. Wanting a salary cap, limiting roster size, and negotiating medical insurance were the main reasons for the NHL strike of 1993-94 where labor gained unrestricted free agency and medical insurance, but lost arbitration and the amount of fines.
Roster size was another important issue. The management wanted to put a limit on the amount of players a team could have. The current roster size was unlimited and management wanted it limited to 22. "Owners are paying too much for all the players (Betterman in Fay)." This was another part of the negotiations that lasted all the way to the end. Management was able to get a roster limit of 25. After management and players both had plus on their side.
Medical insurance was a hard argument. Players had had all of their insurance paid for up until this point. Now management wanted a change. The management wanted players to pay the first $750 of their insurance. For players that made more than $350,000, they wanted them to pay for all of their insurance. "They have the money, so I donít know why theyíre complaining (Patrick in Deacon)."
Free Agency was one of the points that labor won in full. Management was asking that all players that became free agents were to pay their old team some money. The NHL is the only professional sports team that allows unrestricted free agency. "Itís a nice bonus to the job Gretzsky in Reuters)." Players are eligible for free agency at age 32. They can become free agents anytime, but may have to pay their former team. The agreement of this early in the negotiations was a plus for both sides.
Insurance was another victory for the players. It was a hard battle but they beat out the management on this one. The management wanted players to pay the first portion, if not all of their medical and life insurance. Management was only able to gain players paying their own life insurance. All of their medical is taken care of by the league. "If other companies pay insurance for their employees, then I donít see why the NHL shouldnít (Messier in Deacon)." This was about it on the winning side for the players.
Arbitration was one of the things management was able to hang on to. If a player and owner get into an argument about money, the call an arbitrator. The player and owner each tell their side to the arbitrator. They also submit an estimate on how the money should be handled. The arbitrator then selects one of the figures. "In order to get something, you have to give something, and the players know that (Betterman in Hocheberg)." In most cases, the arbitrators favored owners.
The management also got their way as far as fines go. The minimum fine at that time was $500. They got it raised to $1000 with ease. The players didnít mind this so much because they got what they wanted in insurance. "We can live with this (Gretzsky in Hochberg)." Management thought after they got the $1000 fine as easily as they did, they could have made it higher. With all these issues resolve, the strike was over.