News Blog: CBA, Can Barely Ascertain

One of the first things Paul Kelly remarked upon after being unveiled as the new executive director of the NHL Players’ Association was that the current collective bargaining agreement, “reads like the tax code,” and that, “it has been lawyered to death.”

He’s spot on there. With the recent precipitous rise of the Canadian dollar, I was recently musing whether or not players would begin pressing for their contracts to be negotiated in Canadian funds. Of course, that would have all sorts of implications on everything from the salary cap to league revenues, but I thought it was a matter worth pursuing.

So, I go to my handy-dandy copy of the CBA, and look under “Article 11 – Rules and Procedures Governing Standard Player Contract.” Right there in 11.17, it reads, “All SPCs must provide for compensation in U.S. currency for Paragraph 1 NHL salary and bonuses.”

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Now, I don’t profess to be the world’s most literate person, but to me, the term provide for implies that the option of negotiating a contract in U.S. funds should be available to a player, but in no way indicates that it should be mandatory. Therefore, players should be free to negotiate in Canadian funds.

I asked deputy commissioner Bill Daly about this and his email response was, “The CBA mandates that contracts be in U.S. currency. No option for Canadian currency.”

Well, here’s a thought, why not just write it that way into the CBA? Why does it have to be worded so ambiguously? Why not just use the word, “be” instead of the words “provide for”?

“Because it was written by a bunch of lawyers,” said an agent.

Smart man, that Paul Kelly.