Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by Art Vandelay, Nov 16, 2005.
It's quite long but IMO a good read.
hmm....that's so unfair to guys in the minors. whatever happened to the potential lawsuit the AHL was thinking of filing? Anyone hear anything?
I didn't hear anything about a lawsuit. It may have been a rumor started in the other thread on this topic a few threads down from here in the "Business of Hockey" forum. Check it out.
i was referring to this Ballantine
Litigation co-chair, Jeffrey Kessler, was mentioned in an article regarding a dispute between the Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA) that represents minor-league hockey players and the National Hockey League. The dispute is over a clause in the new collective bargaining agreement that drastically cut the minor-league playersâ€™ salaries. Larry Landon, executive director of the PHPA, said the organization has retained Mr. Kessler with the help of the National Football League Players Association, which has an interest on the issue.
Litigation co-chair, Jeffrey Kessler, was quoted in an article regarding a potential antitrust lawsuit brought by the Professional Hockey Players' Association (PHPA) against the National Hockey League (NHL). Mr. Kessler, representing the PHPA, wrote in a letter to the NHL that the minor league players are suffering injury every day due to the new collective bargaining agreement. Mr. Kessler also wrote that the rule has the effect of imposing a wage ceiling of $75,000 in the American Hockey League (AHL) which also has the effect of suppressing wages for all players in the AHL.
MePutPuckInNet, after recomprehending your previous post, I realized I had thought about something else.
Will these suits go anywhere? In theory the new CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA seems to have set a player salary cap at $75,000, but the players, and a team's management, have the option of negotiating beyond that threshhold.
As for the first suit, I am asuming it is in reference to the clip that Lion posted above. A pleyer gets called up and is paid NHL money for the day and then gets his ticket punched for the AHL affiliate and will draw the AHL salary for his time there. Other than not drawing a NHL salary for a longer period of time, I don't see how the rule technically cuts the minor-league player's salary. He's still drawing the same minor league salary while playing in the minor league.
Nope, not a rumor.
Not that thread. That thread just suggested that the AHL players that are being treated like ping pong balls might have grounds for filing a grievence with the NHLPA.
The basis for the PHPA lawsuit was discussed in another thread here last month:
That discussion started from this TSN article.
The root of this beef is a CBA provision known as the "$75,000 rule". With the NHL minumum salary now at $450K, teams would certainly be tempted to send players with 2-way contracts up and down in turnstile-like fashion, as you mentioned. This would cut corners, and allow them to "play" the salary cap like a fiddle.
To prevent this type of manipulation, a rule was put in place that any player who makes over $75,000 must clear waivers before being sent down to the AHL. If the player gets claimed by another team upon being sent down, then the club owes half of his NHL salary for that year against the cap.
So teams don't do it... however it is so restrictive a formula, that it hinders AHL players over $75K from getting called up at all. Teams do not want to leave themselves exposed by calling up a guy who makes $100K in the minors, knowing that sending him back down may well cost them half his NHL level salary... So the result is like a glass ceiling at $75K for AHL players. Supposedly, many 2-way players were approached and offered a "re-structuring" of their minor league number to $75K, allowing them the freedom of passage to get called up more often, or in some cases get called up at all.
Both those Dewey Ballantine quotes were in regard to the same threatened PHPA lawsuit over the $75K cap. Jeffrey Kessler, the lawyer representing the PHPA, is litigarion co-chair at Dewey Ballantine.
The threatened PHPA litigation has nothing to do with the callup and return of players under NHL contract. They are members of the NHLPA and have agreed to the terms of the CBA when they signed their NHL contracts. They have no course of action through the courts. Their only recourse would be filing a grievence through the NHLPA.
The PHPA lawsuit would be based on the fact that the actions of the NHL and NHLPA have resulted in a de-facto salary cap of $75K on AHL players on AHL-only contracts, and who are not members of the NHLPA, but are members of the minor-league PHPA.
The turnstyle happens with fringe players who are exempt from waivers, that's what I was referring to. This was covered in the link I referred to above (in my initial post), and is also being mentioned in the clip of the linked sportsNet article in the first post.
According to the new waiver rules that I have read on these boards and in the media the $75,000 treashhold AHL salary is only for players being called up. A player, otherwise exempt from waivers, must clear as a call-up if their AHL salary exceeds $75,000. Then the claiming club has to pay half the salary yada, yada, yada... I am pretty sure the $75,000 threshhold does not affect a send-down. I don't see how or why it would.
If a player on an AHL-only contract (PHPA) making $100k got the call to an NHL club would that player have to negotiate a NHL contract (NHLPA) and then, more than likely, would sign a two-way deal with an AHL salary of $75k to increase the likelyhood of future callups? Or is his AHL-only contract his as an AHL player regardless of any susequent deal he mgiht sign with an NHL club to play for the NHL club?
In effect the player is loaned from the AHL team to the NHL team, correct?
Yeah that could be right. I have read both versions in my travels. (that the player must clear on the way down, and that the player must clear on the way up). Either way, the effect is the same.
I don't know all the details of the AHL / NHL player transfer agreements, but I do know based on news reports, that a player's AHL salary (if on an AHL-only contract) is what dictates whether he will be exposed to callup waivers. He cannot just sign a new NHL 2-way deal with an AHL salary of <$75K.
There were several reports of AHL veterans who were on AHL contracts >$75K who were given a stark choice - either take a pay cut to $75K and leave open the possibility of signing with an NHL team during that season or keep a salary >$75K and be told in no uncertain terms that no NHL team would risk signing them.
If they're on an AHL only contract, they can't be called up under any circumstances because their rights don't belong to an NHL club. The AHL veterans you're referring to are all on 2-way contracts. There's no mechanism to call up a player not signed to an NHL contract.
I'd like to see a system for AHL vets modeled after the one used for the NFL practice squad. Any team can sign any player off another teams practice squad to play in the NFL only, with the original team having right of first refusal by adding that player to their NFL roster. Obviously you wouldn't want players you're developing taken and you wouldn't want your farm team decimated so there would have to be restrictions. Something along the lines of a team can lose no more than 3 players in a season, players must be 24 years old or more on Jan 1st, and no players may be signed from minor league teams after Jan 1st, etc..