An arbitrator has rejected a grievance filed by the NHL Players' Association that challenged an Alberta tax on players.

The 12.5 percent tax on pay earned in the province applies to players for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, as well as members of visiting teams.

The Alberta tax was originally conceived as a visiting players' tax when Oilers and Flames officials approached the Alberta government for help 21/2 years ago. But provincial officials concluded it wouldn't survive a challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement if Alberta teams were exempt.

"We are very disappointed in arbitrator (Joan) Parker's decision," NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow said in a statement.

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