Friday, June 27, 2008

The NHL constitution

Interesting times in the blogosphere.

Late Wednesday night, I received an email from Dan Tolensky from, a blogger I chat with once in a while about the hockey topic du jour. Tolensky said he had been leaked a partial copy of the NHL's constitution, and that he'd have a post on it the next day.

"Who'd you sleep with?" was my response back.

The 30-plus page constitution, a set of league rules and bylaws, is not something that's been put out there, not like the collective bargaining agreement, which can be downloaded at anytime you like. (A surefire insomnia cure, by the way.)

Yesterday just before noon, Tolensky posted a few lengthy sections of the document he'd been leaked, and it all looked rather official. He had some minor analysis of what was there, and the comments were piling up.

A few hours later, the piece was taken offline.

What's up in its place is a bit of an explanation of why the documents were pulled, and in talking to Dan a bit on email last night, it sounds as if he wants to do a bit more digging before putting all of the information out there.

I have no such qualms.

What follows is one portion of what he posted, a section on "Conflicts of Interest." Keep in mind that I have not verified that what's here is actually the league's constitution — for all I know, Dan could have been given anything by anyone willing to mislead him.

Either way, it's worth noting that this is out there and being talked about:
Article XIII – Conflicts of Interest – Ownership

13.1 Purposes. This Article 13 prohibits the acquisition (or holding) of certain direct or indirect ownership interests in, or management rights with respect to, Member Clubs, by Persons having ownership interests in, or management rights with respect to, one or more other Member Clubs. The League and the Commissioner, as the case may be, shall continue to have all of the rights and powers, and all current and prospective Member Clubs and Owners shall have all of the obligations, set forth in the other provisions of the Constitution, By-Laws, rules, resolutions and agreements of the League. Without limiting the generality of the preceding sentence, the League shall continue to have the right to disapprove any proposed transfer of a direct or indirect ownership interest in a Member Club, even if the proposed transaction would otherwise comply with the provisions in this Article 13.

13.3 Restrictions on Controlling Owner

(a) Subject to Article 13.6 below, a Controlling Owner may not at any time:

(i) acquire or hold an Ownership Interest in another Member Club or its franchise, other than pursuant to the Public Company Exception;

(ii) serve, or permit any of its Attributed Persons to serve, as a Director of any other Member Club or any other Controlling Owner unless, in the case of a Controlling Owner that is a Diversified Owner, the Commissioner has given his prior written approval; or

(iii) enter into any business transaction with any Member Club (Other than the Member Club of which it is the Controlling Owner) without the prior written approval of the Commissioner.

(b) If the Commissioner disapproves any proposed transaction submitted pursuant to Article 13.3(a)(iii), the applicable Controlling Owner may appeal such disapproval to the Board of Governors, which may approve the proposed transaction by three-fourths vote.
We've already heard this week that the commissioner was apparently in the dark on some of the recent dealings going on among his crew, and it's certainly not hard to link this document to recent goings on in the NHL.

It makes you wonder why, at this critical juncture, it's coming to the forefront the way it is. A lot of veteran members of the media have never laid eyes on the constitution, for whatever reason.

Now, perhaps, it's out there, such as it is — and this could be only the beginning.



At 7:38 a.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger The Forechecker said...

It would appear that some parties within the NHL ownership ranks are intent on bringing down Bettman, and if it takes a leak or two to help stoke the flames, so be it.

While it's perilous to make conclusions based on the excerpt you've posted here, it would appear that the loans to Del Biaggio would fall into the category of tiptoeing around the technicalities of the bylaws, while clearly violating the spirit of them.

At 9:13 a.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Big Picture Guy said...

The league's constitution may be "out there" in public records somewhere. It's a basic document in any legal dispute between owners (see Belkin vs Atlanta Spirit) and it is foundational in the Rangers' anti-trust suit. Sections of it are quoted in the NHL's recent filing in that case If that case ever goes to trial, the whole document will probably make an appearance.
I belatedly came across Theresa Tedesco's reporting on the Del Biaggio case (National Post). She quotes Richard Rodier as saying Del Biaggio's consent rights in his investment in Nashville "did not include consent to relocation and nor did we have any expectation that they should." The consent rights are unusually specific but I think that was done to give him a quick way out. If true, it confirms my suspicions that he was a stop-gap and not a stalking horse for a Nashville-KC relocation. Ironic that he tried to sell his share to Balsille.

At 9:34 a.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

I can recall people on the Fan590 citing the constitution last week and noting some of these clauses. I don't think this is groundbreaking.

At 10:12 a.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous degroat said...

"It would appear that some parties within the NHL ownership ranks are intent on bringing down Bettman, and if it takes a leak or two to help stoke the flames, so be it."

You do know that Bettman was just extended, right? I seriously doubt they would keep giving the guy millions of dollars if they didn't think he was doing a good job.

At 11:50 a.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Derek from Cloud9 Sports said...

Gary goes to such great lengths to ensure the financial well being of the owners, and they don't even have the courtesy to give him a reach around.

Should infer then that fans, media and (now) ownership have it in for his disservice to hockey?

At 2:18 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering that Leopold is carrying the note on the Preds and Boots just got bailed, technically he owns one team outright and a huge chunk on another.

At 2:47 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would appear that some parties within the NHL ownership ranks are intent on bringing down Bettman, and if it takes a leak or two to help stoke the flames, so be it.

I don't see the constitution clauses having anything to do with Betteman. He wasn't the one doing anything that violated those rules.

Who they do apply to are Anschutz and Leipold.

I would love to see something actively done for that mistake. If you're going to suspend Samueli for doing something illegal in something unconnected directly to the NHL, then you should sure as hell do something for owners who did.

At 4:28 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

Considering that Leopold is carrying the note on the Preds and Boots just got bailed, technically he owns one team outright and a huge chunk on another.

This is just the sort of misinformation and outright falsehood that permeates these discussions and drives me to distraction.

Leipold's loan is unsecured. He does not own any "note" on the Preds.

Can't anyone get this right?

i just loooooooooove amateur counsel.

At 4:50 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad there is nothing to evaluate. Of particular importance is the definitions section of the agreement, as there are a lot of defined terms that oen needs to understand before you can understand the meaning of the provisions.

From the portions that James has posted, there is nothing yet that any Member Club has violated, so far as has been reported.

At 7:57 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The leak had to be owner who hates bettman and is trying to make him look bad that he no control over the owners

At 1:02 p.m., June 28, 2008, Blogger B.D. Gallof said...

The leak is more likely someone who wants there to be transparency instead of some slippery murk.

Glad to see Mirtie supporting fellow bloggers, especially from the Buzz.

At 9:08 a.m., July 01, 2008, Anonymous Citizen Cane said...

Gerald,we're approaching the beginning of the end for your boy, Bettman.

At 11:47 p.m., July 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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