Recently a new Players’ Association Union was formed in the Canadian Hockey League. The emergence of a Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association this week signals the welcome dawning of a new era that should lead to better benefits for young men. For decades, the 60 team, three conference league was primarily owner owned and operated which meant big profits for the owners and and meager compensation for the young men playing the game. These men are paraded around before the media, making public appearances, commercials, and playing in a 70+ game season. These players push themselves towards their greater goal of the NHL and millions of dollars. So, there in lies the big difference between the NHLPA and the CHLPA. The NHLPA fights for one reason only, greater profits and increased cap for the players. On the other hand, the CHLPA, led by former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque, is not pushing for better payments or benefits. But, rather, Laraque is out there looking for better preparation for the players’ futures. Their first stated goal is to make the CHL’s education package more realistic in how it deals with and appeals to the average player who doesn’t go on to a big-time, bigger-money professional career. Currently, CHL players can have up to four years of post-secondary education paid for, but they have to be enrolled in a program within a year-and-a-half after they cease to be a part of their junior organization. Majority of the 1,500 players aren’t drafted, or signed as a free agent, and there is even those who get a deal but don’t last long. Only 210 players each season are drafted. But these other, “average” players usually don’t immediately go the a University after finishing up their Junior career at the age of 20. Rather they continue to play around the world, in the AHL, ECHL, and even in Europe to try and hone their skills and be seen by a NHL Scout. By the time they are finished playing, several years later, they realize they should prepare for a future after hockey. Yet under the current arrangement, those players don’t have access to the money that was available to them when they were useful and valued by CHL team owners. The CHLPA is looking to extend that and possibly turn it into a “education bank account.” Now with the instatement of the CHLPA, led by Georges Laraque, the CHL owners who make millions of dollars owning a team, will no longer be able to assume everything will stay the same and will need to accept small chunks of change being taken out of their millions in profit. They have never seen many chunks taken before, especially since they became the feeder system for the major leagues, but I feel they could spare a little bit here or there to help the players who work so hard for them.
By Jake Breunig -
About the Author
Jake is an avid hockey fan and a year round fanatic. Attending multiple games each year, both in Buffalo and around the country, he is always up to date on his information. Jake also has an affinity for statistics. He has a business associates from NCCC and nearly finished with a chemistry degree from John Carroll University. Jake lives in Grand Island, NY and graduated Canisius High School. To stay in contact with Jake look him up on Facebook, email him at [email protected] or on twitter @jakebreunig1