2004-05 Contractual Obligations to "dissappear"?

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by egotist, Jul 5, 2005.

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  1. egotist

    egotist Registered User

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    Sorry if this has been touched on in another thread, but I haven't noticed much discussion about this. I'm hoping someone can explain this to me:

    a) How can the NHLPA unilaterally decide that all player contracts be cut by 24% in the first place?

    With regard to a), I always understood that an NHL SPC was an agreement governed by the CBA but reached between player and team management. I don't understand how the NHLPA can insert themselves into a SPC as a third party with the authority to adjust the specific terms of that contract.

    Also:

    b) Further to my question above, how can the NHLPA effectively consent to wiping these contracts away? It is the player and the team that has come to the agreement, and it has been the team that locked out the player and rendered him unable to perform. Given the Alexei Yashin decision in Ottawa (where the player had the term of his contract enforced after sitting out a year), shouldn't these players be entitled to the compensation as outlined in their agreements or at least an opportunity to live up to the agreement?

    It strikes me that the mother of all grievances/lawsuits is going to be filed if what's being rumoured is indeed the case.
     
  2. Jaded-Fan

    Jaded-Fan Registered User

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    The answer to both is the new CBA. The NHL is not unilaterally deciding, these issues are being negotiated.
     
  3. Jobu

    Jobu Registered User

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    Pursuant to s. 18 of the SPC, the SPC is subordinate and subject to the CBA:

    "The Club and the Player severally and mutually promise and agree to be legally bound by the Constitution and By-Laws of the League and by any Collective Bargaining Agreement that has been or may be entered into between the member clubs of the League and the NHLPA, and by all of the terms and provisions thereof, copies of which shall be open and available for inspection by Club, its directors and officers, and the Player, at the main office of the League, the main office of the Club and the main office of the NHLPA. This Contract is entered into subject to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA and any provisions of this Contract inconsistent with such Collective Bargaining Agreement are superseded by the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement."

    As a result, if the NHLPA agrees to rollback and eliminate a year's worth of contracts, it can do so with comfort.
     
  4. Flukeshot

    Flukeshot Hextall Activate!

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    I believe the Alexei Yashin situation is rather different and separate. Yashin had a contract and was able to play that season. The lockout was not technically the NHL declaring that they would not honor all contracts, it was a period inwhich no CBA existed and thus no season would be played.

    Yashin's holdout is only equal to, ex: Ottawa telling Yashin only that he was not going to play for them that season and they would not be paying him his salary for that contracted year.

    How the NHL and NHLPA could negotiate that 2004-05 years is that there was not a way for the players to play and that 2004-05 salaries would not be moved back to the 2005-06 season.
     
  5. kdb209

    kdb209 Global Moderator

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    Yashin keeps coming up in these threads, but Yashin has absolutly nothing to do with whether 04-05 contracts are honored.

    The Yashin arbitration decision has little to do with this question and offers no precedent.

    1. It was an arbiter's (Lawrence Holden's) decision made under the dispute resolution mechanisms of the last CBA and not a court case. The only court case just upheld that arbitration according to the CBA was the correct venue and did not rule at all on the merits of the case. There is no legal precedent established by Yashin's non case, except possibly in other NHL arbitration cases.

    2. The point that Holden ruled on was very narrow. He made no global rulings on whether contracts are for calendar years of playing years. All he did was rely on an obscure ruling made during the Zeigler/Stein era (which became part of the body of league rules and bylaws which accompany the CBA) which specifically dealt with players holding out and full performance of contracts. The previous rulings on which Holden's decision were based were pretty one sided in terms of performance - explicitly calling out the case of a holdout player.
     
  6. Brewleaguer

    Brewleaguer Registered User

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    If that is the case, there could be trouble ratifying any new CBA
     
  7. egotist

    egotist Registered User

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    Cheers guys, thanks for the thoughtful replies.

    I was initially pretty shocked that the CBA had that much power over the terms of a player agreement. Prior to this discussion, it was my impression that the CBA merely formed the legal environment that governed how a SPC could be negotiated and implemented within the NHL-NHLPA business framework.

    I didn't realize that the compensation in these "guaranteed" contracts could be adjusted in the course of collectibe bargaining!

    Thanks again for the insight.
     
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