Seems like there are veteran players in the OHL who have not even been contacted by this supposed players union. Read the story in the Peterborough paper.
That could be one of the reasons why the secret was kept so well for so long. In any event, Kevin was interviewed by two major Canadian News organizations about the story today. Stephen and I have been working on several different directions this story may take, the importance of this to players is clear as it could change the major junior game completely.
posted Aug. 20th, 2012 - 4:30pm
Jon Gibbs says:
Wow...I don't even know where to begin with you Stephen...first off, the CHL-NHL transfer agreement is being worked on and will have a few tweaks. From what I've been hearing (from very reputable sources) is that each NHL team will be allowed the opportunity to place one 19 year old drafted player into the AHL if he is deemed ready...other than that, most of the agreement will remain intact not so for the NCAA, however, as the NHLPA wants all drafted players to signed within two years of their draft date or become unrestricted free agents....this will have a profound effect U.S. college hockey.
The CHLPA is a joke and is not happening...no players have been contacted, so obviously no vote has been taken!
It aint happening folks.
From what I am hearing, I don't think a players union will become a governing factor in Canadian major junior hockey.
Junior HockeyCFLCanadian Hockey League players’ association rumoured, but details seem flimsy
.By Neate Sager
.PostsEmail .By Neate Sager | Buzzing The Net
It seems rather convenient, at first blush, that talk of a players' association in the Canadian Hockey League crops up just as the NHL seems headed for a lockout.
Nothing is cut-and-dried, of course. It's not a newsflash that major junior hockey is an odd business where the franchises are run for profit like big-league teams but the players are boys and young men. There is the potential, no matter how good the intentions, for a person to be taken advantage of or be in the dark about his rights, just like in any workforce composed primarily of young people. They are entitled to something for their labour, period, full stop.
Still, one would think if there was a drive to have a players' association to represent the nearly 1,500 players in the CHL, it would be spearheaded by agents with a lot of clients in the league and insiders wouldn't have been taken by surprise by the news. Still, because it's the dog days of August, it merits attention.
From Mike Davies:
Sandra Slater, a consultant for the Canadian Hockey League Players Association (CHLPA), expects the group to go public within 10 days. The CHLPA aims to create better representation for junior hockey players regarding rights, education packages and compensation for their use in league branding as well as CHL and Hockey Canada events, particularly, the World Junior Hockey Championship.
"The CHL is big business. They make millions of dollars a year and these kids make it for them," said Slater. "Hockey Canada is a big part of this as well."
If a 60 per cent majority of players accept the union, Slater says the CHL will have no choice but to recognize it by law.
... The CHLPA's mission statement says: "The goal for the PA is to achieve a fair and economically sound education package without restrictions for each player. To not only negotiate with the CHL but with Hockey Canada as well for the use of the players in international events to help support a better education package for all the players of the PA.
"The PA feels that there is no reason why players should have so many restrictions on the use of their education packages. As it stands now the player upon finishing his playing career must execute that package in 18 months or forfeit it. That is one of the many unacceptable conditions in the standard contract." (Peterborough Examiner)
There are fair questions about whether juniors are entitled to a piece of action from, say, the licence to print money that is a world junior tournament held in Canada. (Much of that is reinvested into youth hockey.) Or CHL players' images being used in EA Sports' NHL video game, for that matter.
With respect to education packages, though, the CHL has said that in a given year, about 1,000 former players are using their scholarship money. Some individual teams can conceivably budget up to $100,000 per year to cover tuition for former players. The Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts have established their own hockey academy to help players with their schooling. (That's a pretty good idea, since most OHLers enter the league in Grade 11, which is a critical year in secondary school education, often the make-or-break point between becoming a good student or being weeded out.) At the same time, OHL grad Luke Lynes, who now plays for the CIS powerhouse University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, told the Boston Globe last year that some "midlevel players" (the paper's phrasing) are not looked after to the same extent as players who were early-round choices out of minor hockey. That was just one opinion, of course, but it should not be ignored.
However, anyone who can work the Google on the Internet machine could string that together and get their Norma Rae on. The most telling comments in the above story come from current Peterborough Petes goalie Andrew D'Agostini, pointing out that while the pay in junior is hardly great (which is why a lot of players have summer jobs), their needs are tended to.
D'Agostini said a QMJHL player he trains with mentioned [the CHLPA] one day but that's the extent of his knowledge. He admits to mixed feelings. He says players should be compensated for the use of their image and he wouldn't turn down more money but he says: "I can't complain about the things I have gotten out of this league. The experience of playing for Team Canada. Playing in the Subway Series. You're always decked out in nice gear and are given free stuff. I'm sure I have gone through thousands of dollars worth of hockey sticks alone. I know I have been well taken care of. I don't know what to say."
[Ottawa Senators first-round pick Matt] Puempel said he's joked with players about the need for a union, but the CHLPA is news to him.
"I have never heard about this," Puempel said. "It's a pretty good idea, I think, but I don't know how it would work when you're only in the league for three or four years at a time. I have a lot of contact with guys around the league and they have never brought it up."
Point being, it's not a subject that should be dismissed out of hand but it sounds a little too good to be true. Getting 60 per cent of CHL players to sign a union card within a short timeframe would be exceedingly difficult, especially when one factors in that most count on advice from agents and parents who likely have strong feelings about unions. Is a player who's on the bubble to stick with his team, or an overager who's out of the league next season, going to sign? And how would a CHLPA withhold services and risk losing valuable development time?
It sounds like a decent idea, if rather far-fetched.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
I dont think anyone is saying it will definitely happen. It is definitely being proposed though. Players cards are being issued in the next two weeks according to what I am told. Players have been contacted, I know of 4 personally in the OHL. I am not saying a union is a good thing either, just saying it is definitely being attempted. Like Stephen has said with his many accurate predictions, where there is this much smoke there has to be fire.
Joe, well the headline on your very own website left no doubt that it will happen.
"Canadian Major Junior Players Forming Labour Union" is the headline that appears on your website. The headline is rather emphatic, don't you think?
LOL ok Randy. If players have voted, and we have heard they have, not a full membership vote yet, but some players have voted. If those players have worked with the people attemtping to form the union wouldnt that be a correct headline? No where did the story say the whole body voted, the article specificaly states that small groups voted in secret. I am not saying a union is a good or bad idea, I do have some thoughts on the matter that I will express shortly. Maybe people will take it more serious when the follow up articles are published over the next little bit. Would TSN and other outlets pick this up if they didnt verify sources? I dont think so, but hey, its just something that has the potential to rock junior hockey if it actually comes to fruition.
LOL, yes, for sure.
Yes, potential is there, as it is most everywhere.
Personally, I have opined more than once that major junior owners are making millions off of underage kids and that doesn't seem right.
Just don't know if a union is feasible at this level.
We shall see, though.
Globe & Mail is mainstream enough...
Junior hockey close to forming a players union?
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Aug. 20 2012, 10:07 PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Aug. 20 2012, 10:12 PM EDT
The Canadian Hockey League Players Association, which organizers say will represent the interests of the country’s 1,500 major junior A players, has been in the planning stages for 14 months and is about to go public.
“I can tell you we have representatives from all 60 teams, we have a board of directors from the players,” Derek Clarke, who identified himself as a spokesperson for the fledgling organization, said during a telephone interview on Monday night.
“We have a bargaining committee which consists of 35 players and a treasurer,” he added.
“And we also have an interim advisory board in place and an interim executive director who was voted in until a full-time person is named.”
Clarke said that a full-time executive director could be named as early as Tuesday, which is when the organization will outline its plans to try to certify itself both in Canada and the United States.
The CHLPA said it hopes to provide better representation for the players, especially when it comes to education, in their dealings with the Canadian Hockey League and Hockey Canada.
The CHL is an umbrella organization that represents the three Canadian-based major junior leagues for players 16 to 20.
The three leagues are the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League.
Hockey Canada is the game’s governing body. It draws from the junior ranks to ice teams for such lucrative global tournaments as the annual world junior championship each Christmas.
Clarke said the CHLPA already has in excess of 60-per-cent support from the CHL players, more than enough to make union applications to labour boards in the applicable provinces across Canada and in the United States, where eight of the CHL’s 60 franchises are located.
“If you talk to player agents and the players, this has been long, long overdue. Decades maybe,” Clarke said.
Details of the formation of the new union have, until recently, been shrouded in secrecy before word started to leak out late last week.
Dave Branch, the CHL president and commissioner of the OHL, did not respond to a telephone message on Monday.
In a story published Sunday in the Peterborough Examiner, Branch said it would be “inappropriate” for the board to respond to a matter about which they have no information.
Mark Geiger, a labour lawyer at Blaney McMurtry in Toronto, said from a jurisdictional standpoint, the formation of a new union would be difficult.
“I’m not sure that the players are employees within the meaning of the Labour Relations Act,” he said. “They don’t get a salary, they get a stipend, but it’s not even remotely close to the minimums under the Employment Standards Act.”
While the CHLPA says it has support from a majority of the players, the news of its existence remains unknown to some junior hockey people. According to the parent of one junior-aged player from Quebec: “From what I can tell, there’s no talk about [unionization].”
Gilles Lupien, a former Montreal Canadiens defenceman who is now a player agent, supports the new organization. Lupien, who has long been critical of how junior hockey in Canada is organized and run, said he has been acting as an unofficial consultant to the union’s hierarchy.
“It’s not just about the money,” Lupien said. “It’s a question of how the leagues are treating the kids, their education and all the travel that’s involved. I’ve been screaming about this for years and years.
“Junior hockey is big business.”
One of the union’s stated goals is to help develop a more equitable education package for the players, something that Clarke touched upon.
“There’s too many restrictions with it,” he said. “If a player does not use his education package within the first 18 months after leaving the league, he loses it. Which to me, if you’ve worked four years at something, and you still wanted to pursue your dream – whether that be playing pro or semi-pro hockey, or over in Europe and competing – why would you have to forfeit an education package?”
Plenty of doubt that proposed CHL union will achieve lift off
LONDON - The idea the world junior hockey tournament or Memorial Cup could, one day, be cancelled because of labour strife isn't quite so far-fetched any more.
A union for Canadian Hockey League players has been in the works for more than a year and could go public by the end of this month, QMI Agency reported Monday.
The topic came up briefly at last week's OHL board of governors meetings in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a league official confirmed.
The group, which calls itself the Canadian Hockey League Players Association, intends to create better representation for major junior players regarding "their rights, education packages and compensation for their use in league branding as well as CHL and Hockey Canada events, particularly the world junior championships."
Consultant Sandra Slater said if a 60% majority of players accept the union, the CHL will have to, by law, recognize it.
"I know nothing other than the speculation and the rumours," CHL president and OHL commissioner David Branch said. "The board of governors take the position it would be most inappropriate to respond in any way, shape or form until we have more information."
This isn't the first time a union for junior hockey has been discussed.
The players' official, over-the-table stipend of $50 per week has hardly increased at all over the last 50 years -- Bobby Orr, who now operates a players' agency, was paid the same amount, too, and that was more than 40 years ago -- but this is certainly one of the most appropriate times to wade into the union conversation.
The CHL has become big business operated in many centres by millionaire -- in some cases, billionaire -- owners who have introduced deft, new ways to maximize their revenue streams.
The annual world junior tournament, an incredible money-generating machine for Hockey Canada which last year netted a reported $22 million, is contested with the league's star talent, players who will approach 100 games in one season before getting the chance to pursue a Stanley Cup or sign a multi-million dollar NHL contract.
One of the major attractions for kids to enter the CHL is the chance to play in an environment that blurs the lines between minor hockey and the pros.
Increasingly, they are treated in much the same fashion as their NHL counterparts.
They practise every day and clubs provide access to top-level and specialized coaching, educated athletic therapists, strength trainers and nutritionists.
They are also at risk of being traded and are tested for performance-enhancing drugs.
They get the exposure, just not a larger portion of the bucks.
In fact, attracting players with monetary incentives is against the rules.
The Windsor Spitfires were recently punished to the tune of $400,000 and stripped of valuable future first- and second-round draft picks for unspecified violations under the OHL's player benefit and recruitment policies, a decision the team intends to appeal.
The league instructs its teams not to pay sums of cash to entice talent in an effort to protect competitive balance, but once the player lands there, sells advertising and markets products through them, including lending their names and likenesses for video games.
The players have access to a comprehensive scholarship package run by the league, but not everyone ends up using it and those who spend any significant time in the pros lose that money.
Most players who enter the CHL come equipped with individual agents who negotiate those scholarships and other perks.
But there's never been enough solidarity to form a union. These are still teenagers and, though junior hockey is like a full-time job, this is a group with a much more diverse set of interests than hockey pros.
Several players have already said they've never heard of this new group or the potential to sign union cards, and though the CHLPA could very well have the best of intentions, they have their work cut out for them.
There are several reasons this movement should have legs, but also plenty of doubts it will achieve lift-off.
posted Aug. 21st, 2012 - 4:31pm
T A Lent says:
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