As a result, Russia has once again decided not to sign the International Ice Hockey Federation’s player transfer deal with the NHL.
Under the new four-year agreement, the NHL will pay an annual fee of US$12 million to the IIHF for up to 60 player transfers, which means a minimum of $200,000 will be allocated for each player. The Russians had been hoping to structure a deal that would see more money transferred for better players.
Russia has not been part of the transfer agreement for the last two years and has lost 13 players without compensation, including stars Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin.
“Our clubs were not happy with $200,000 for such players as Malkin or Ovechkin,” Tretiak said through a Russian interpreter on Wednesday. “It’s not enough.”
The Russian clubs want no less than $1 million for top players.
Tretiak also indicated that the labour law that allowed Malkin to break his contracts with Russian team Magnitogorsk Metallurg would soon be altered. Under Russian law, hockey players are treated the same as any other worker and only two weeks notice is required to quit a job.
The new law will enforce the terms of all Russian hockey contracts and will require that those contracts be bought out if a player wants to leave.
“If a player runs away, there will be serious financial reprimands,” said Tretiak, a member of the State Duma in Russia. “He will think twice about doing it.”
Russian players without contracts will not be prevented from playing in the NHL.
The IIHF member countries agreed in principle on the new agreement at a weekend meeting that Tretiak skipped. The Russian Hockey Federation was given a deadline of Tuesday at midnight to decide if they’d join or not.
IIHF President Rene Fasel remains committed to getting them into the player transfer agreement.
“I’m always optimistic,” he said. “We have to respect their decision.
“My job in the future will be to try again to bring the hockey family together. I just can promise you we will do so. I will not give up.”
Tretiak also expressed his interest in re-opening negotiations.
He cited his recent proposal of holding a second Canada-Russia series this summer as an example of his willingness to negotiate with the NHL. The league said no to his idea of another Summit Series on the 35th anniversary of the original.
“Please understand that we are not against the NHL, we are for co-operation,” said Tretiak. “We’ll do our best to co-operate with the NHL.”