TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule

Legal Look: Do players lose contract year on a lost season?

{eot}
Eric Macramalla, TSN Legal Analyst
11/13/2012 4:07:19 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

We know that NHL players don't get paid their salaries during a lockout. From the NHL's standpoint, being in a position to deprive players of income represents pretty meaningful leverage during CBA negotiations.

What represents even more leverage? Players never getting that money back - or that year.

If a full season is lost to a lockout, a player loses that entire year on his contract even though no hockey is ever played. That means that a lost year does not somehow carry over to the following year. The year is gone; the money is gone.

The reason goes back to how a player contract is structured (or as it's called, a Standard Player's Contract or its short form, SPC). When a player signs a contract, he agrees that each contract year is counted as a "League Year". Under the CBA, a "League Year" is defined as July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next year.

So NHL players don't sign for a defined number of NHL seasons; they sign for a defined number of years that may or may not include NHL hockey.

Put another way, a player is employed for a year and not a season.

Like the CBA that expired in September, expect the new CBA to even include a release agreed to by the NHLPA and its players barring a claim against NHL teams for "back pay" (see Section 27 of the CBA). Of course, it is possible that the sides could negotiate a deal whereby players get some compensation for a lost season. However, don't bet on it.

This has an impact on a lot of teams, players and fans. When the league resumed play in 2005 after losing all of the previous season, the NHL never saw some of its more notable players again, including the likes of Ron Francis, Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens, Mark Messier, Vincent Damphousse and Adam Oates.

This time around may be no different. There are a number of players in their late thirties that will be free agents in 2013-2014. Some of these players may decide to retire or may not find a place to play. Here's a partial list of players that could be free agents in their late thirties next season: Kimmo Timonen, Patrik Elias, Sergei Gonchar, Tim Thomas, Daniel Alfredsson, Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, Nikolai Khabibulin, Roman Hamrlik, Evgeni Nabokov, Vinny Prospal, Adrian Aucoin, Milan Hejduk, Jose Theodore and Jamie Langenbrunner.

Remember if the salary cap comes down significantly, which is expected, teams may want to sign some of these players but may not have the cap space to do so, and instead may opt for cheaper talent.

Apart from retirement, there is also the issue of turnover. With over 200 unrestricted free agents set to hit the market in 2013 if this season is lost, fans will likely see old faces on their teams replaced with new ones.

As well, some fans may never even get a chance to see new players their teams have signed. Case in point: Carolina signed Alexander Semin to a one year deal, which means it's possible Hurricane fans may never see him play for the team.

So for players, there is a lot to lose by missing a season. And for some of these players, we may never see them again play NHL hockey.

Eric Macramalla is TSN's Legal Analyst and can be heard each week on TSN Radio 1050. You can follow him on Twitter @EricOnSportslaw.

Alexander Semin (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

zoom

(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


Maple Leafs on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the home of the Leafs with Jonas Siegel providing daily coverage in his Leaf Report.


Leafs Ice Chips | Latest on the Leafs


@
 | L 1-0 | Spezza: 1G | Reimer: 36sv

Raptors on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the home of the Raptors with Josh Lewenberg providing coverage in his Raptors Report.


Latest on the Raptors


@
 | Wednesday at 8pm | (TSN 1050)
@
 | W 110-100 | Vasquez: 25pts | Lowry: 24pts

Blue Jays on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 baseball insider Scott MacArthur provides daily coverage of the Blue Jays.


Jays Watch | Latest on the Jays


@
 | Wednesday at 8:10pm | Dickey vs. Pelfrey
@
 | W 9-3 | W: Loup | L: Hughes

Toronto FC on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050's Gareth Wheeler provides coverage of TFC matches including pre-game shows live from BMO Field


Latest on TFC


@
 | Saturday at 8:30pm | (TSN 1050)
@
 | L 1-0 | Buddle (77')

Argos on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 has every Argos game with Mike Hogan providing coverage in his Argos Report.


Argos Hashmarks | Latest on the Argos


 | Free Agency Tracker
 | Canadian College Draft
TSN TweetBox

TSN 1050 Contests/Fantasy Pools

Visit the TSN 1050 tent at Maple Leafs Square before every Raptors home game during the playoffs for your chance to win a pair of tickets!


For More Contests Click Here


Sign up for TSN 1050's Playoff Payout for your the chance to win $1050.


For More Fantasy Pools Click Here

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television