Saturday, July 19, 2008

NHLPA disputes IIHF bans

"Yesterday's announcement by the IIHF that they have suspended certain Players from international competition has no basis in fact or law, and constitutes a violation of the rights of these Players. The affected Players are being unfairly singled out in a dispute between the NHL and the KHL over whether to respect each others' contracts. The NHLPA's strong objection to this unilateral action by the IIHF has been registered, and unless this action is reversed, the NHLPA will consider all legal options available.

As has been previously reported, the IIHF, the KHL, the NHL, the NHLPA, and several IIHF Federation members met in Zurich, Switzerland on July 10th to discuss the issues existing between the NHL and KHL, as well as other international ice hockey matters. Contrary to public comment by various attendees, while the meeting was productive and progress was made in several areas, a transfer agreement was not reached by the parties. In the absence of a transfer agreement or a written memorandum of understanding agreed to by all necessary parties, including the NHLPA, the IIHF cannot unilaterally act to sanction members of the NHLPA.

The NHLPA appreciates that the IIHF is taking action in an attempt to resolve the dispute between the NHL and KHL. The NHLPA will support these efforts by the IIHF, but not if individual Players are subjected to improper sanctions."
It's interesting that the NHL players' union is sticking up for players that have signed elsewhere and broken contracts.

The logical reason is that they want to encourage movement between leagues as a way of increasing the amount of cash available, but who knew the NHLPA would align with the KHL?

Everyone's mad at everyone at this point.

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At 3:44 p.m., July 19, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Supporting the KHL is exactly what I'd expect the NHLPA to do, and it's exactly what they should do. It increases the choices of the union membership, and could possibly increase wages. Not in the NHL, and not immediately, given the salary cap. Down the road, though, increased competition for labor is something a union will always jump at.

Aside from that, the NHLPA is legally required to represent the interests of those players involved who are currently members. In that sense, this statement is just boilerplate. What happens next is up to the players involved as much as the union.

At 5:26 p.m., July 19, 2008, Anonymous snafu said...

Furthermore, the brunt of the sanctions is born by the individual players. The dispute is between leagues that vie for their talents. As such, any sanction should be aimed at the team(s) and leagues in which they are members. The players have not had much say in how the agreements are hammered out and what fees (akin to extortion in some cases that treat the players like property, not individuals) are levied.

Honestly, if you consider that a high enough fee is set, it precludes lowered valued individuals from ever having the option of playing for certain leagues. All things being equal, will NA players even have a chance to play in Europe seeing the restrictions - beyond limits based on nationality already in place - might put a "fee" going in the other direction.

I know this goes beyond what James has posted here, but the idea of transfer fees of any kind should be abhorrent to any group claiming to represent player and individual rights.

At 6:32 p.m., July 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

* Alexander Radulov
* Nikita Filatov
* Thomas Mojzis
* Jason Krog
* Fedor Fedorov
* Viktor Tikhonov

Which players of these are actual NHLPA members? Radulov most likely and he is the one breaking his deal.

Signing a NHL contract doesn't make you automatically a NHLPA member because you might end up playing in AHL where PHPA takes care of it's players.

Hopefully European player unions will comment on this once they have returned from their everlasting summer holidays.

However, it's nice to see that somebody is looking for players interests in these situations where IIHF is involved.

IIHF happens to be a sweatshop for players. IIHF only uses players at their tournaments. Players won't get paid, their insurances are not taken care of...

They just reap millions of euros from their tournaments. But Rene Fasel is always quick to tell everybody how hockey should be played, when young European players should sign NHL contracts etc.

Nice job if you can get it. Good for you Rene!

At 7:54 p.m., July 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The IIHF weasels need NHL players more than NHL players need those pointless shinny-on-a-lake tournaments.

At 10:18 p.m., July 19, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

The dispute is between leagues that vie for their talents.

Sorry, but this is completely, COMPLETELY wrongheaded. The dispute is not so much between the leaqgues (although there is an element there) as it is between the players who are breaching the contracts and the teams with whom they entered into contracts. Radulov is breaching his contract. He has elected of his own free will to do so. He must bear the consequences.

Furthermore, the brunt of the sanctions is born by the individual players.

Accordingly, this is as it should be.

As a legal matter, the NHLPA is stepping far outside its legal mandate here. They are one thing and one thing only - the bargaining agent for its members as pertains to their contractual undertakings with the NHL. The IIHF has nothing to do with the NHL.

This would be akin to the NHLPA representing a player in his divorce proceedings. i am sure that the IIHF will do exactly what is merited at such a statement - laugh at it uproariously. It has as much legal (and business) relevance as my neighbour's housekeeper chiming in with her opinion.

At 11:29 p.m., July 19, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Which players of these are actual NHLPA members? Radulov most likely and he is the one breaking his deal.

Any player that signs a NHL contract is a member of the NHLPA. So, all of them are NHLPA members.

The status here also shows that it is most prudent for the Russian national federation to work out a resolution. Having Filatov, Radulov, Tikhonov and Fedorov not eligible for international competition is a much more significant problem than the Czechs not having Mojzis or Krog not being available for... the Spengler Cup is about the only team he could play on for Canada.

At 12:25 a.m., July 20, 2008, Blogger Lowetide said...

I'm not close to being able to discuss this, but was wondering if anything has actually been, you know, signed?

At any time? For any of this?

At 3:24 a.m., July 20, 2008, Anonymous Alec said...

Radulov isn't even a RFA, so he's clearly in breach of contract.

With the players moving from Russia, it appears to be the KHL claiming they retain the players rights even after contracts expire, not the individual teams. Krog had an opt out if he got a 1 way deal above x amount of dollars. Filatov's contract expired and Tikonov was tendered an offer but refused.

From an interview with his old coach:
"A: Tenitsky: Tikhonov was selected by an NHL team in the draft and he will try his fortune there this coming season. But in Russia his rights belong to HC Severstal .

Q: Does Viktor currently have a contract with the team?

A. Tenitsky: No, he did not sign a contract with Seversta, but he was offered one, which he declined. However, he did not get offers from other Russian clubs, and according to the regulations of the new league, his rights will remain with us for at least the next two seasons. That is, of course, if he returns to Russia. If he doesn’t, he has the full right to play in North America."

At 3:30 a.m., July 20, 2008, Anonymous Alec said...

Sorry, here's the link to the above quote.

At 7:55 a.m., July 20, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

I'm not close to being able to discuss this, but was wondering if anything has actually been, you know, signed?

At any time? For any of this?

I believe no. Although at this point, you put the two/three/whatever parties in a room with writing implements and they might be more likely to attempt to stab each other in the eyes with ballpoint pens instead of actually signing anything.


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