NHL vs NHLPA: European drafted players "defected status" w/o transfer agreement
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09-02-2008, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Originally Posted by
It's going to be a difficult case for the arbitrator to decide. The NHLPA should win if they use a strict interpretation of the letter agreement but there is precedent to accept testimony that explains intent. In the Yashin decision the arbitrator made his decision based on testimony from John Ziegler that he and Alan Eagleson had a deal in place that a player would owe another year on his contract if he didn't play the final year.
Saskin and Daly/Bettman will testify along the same lines and proof of the intent exists in that the NHLPA did not challenge the NHL allowing Russian players to be designated defected free agents when Russia chose not to sign the transfer agreement. The letter agreement does not make exceptions for individual countries. All it required was a satisfactory IIHF transfer agreement to nullify defected free agent status.
Another contentious issue that may surface is whether Saskin even had the authority to insert letter agreements without ratification by the union membership. I recall complaints about that by some of the disaffected union members; that things were inserted without their knowledge.
Actually, in the Yashin case, the arbiters decision was NOT based on some "deal in place" between Zeigler and Eagleson.
It was based on a correspondence between Sam Simpson of the NHLPA and NHL VP/General Counsel Gil Stein - the NHLPA asked a hypothetical question concerning a player holding out and free agent status. Stein's response was accepted then by the NHLPA and not challenged. Stein's memo then became part of the League Rules ("the Constitution and Bylaws, resolutions, rules, and regulations of the NHL (other than this Agreement) and/or any official interpretations of any of them").
Copies of all the League Rules documents were provided to the NHLPA when the CBA was negotiated and their contents still hold force unless they conflict with the contents of the CBA (or evidence that the point was a subject of negotiation during the CBA talks). The subject of Specific Performance did come up during the '95 CBA talks, but Holden ruled that since the CBA was silent on the subject of full performance and the record of the negotiations indicated an agreement on keeping the status quo therefore the League Rules came into play
edit: sadly the NYU Law page with the text of Holden's decision is no longer there:
Does anyone else out there have a copy of the document? A quick Google came up empty.
Originally Posted by
Just as a slight aside, is it confirmed that those guys like Filatov, Voinov, etc actually had RSL contracts lasting into this coming season, prior to the existence of the KHL? Now granted, technically I can understand that the formation of a new league might ideally involve every player re-upping under the official umbrella of the new league. However, practically, I can also see from the teams' perspectives that the league shift would instead preferably involve just transferring all player contracts automatically. You'd think that those details would have been fairly clearly spelled out as part of the formation of the KHL.
This would be true, if the RSL contracts were just personal service contracts between the player and the RSL team. However, that is generally NOT the case - at least with NA professional sports contracts. For example NHL SPCs are between a player and team (specifically as a member of the league) and only valid under the umbrella of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA.
If Filatov's contract makes references to the RSL as any sort of governing body, it is very likely that it would no longer be valid.
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