We haven’t given much serious attention to the fledgling Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association and its attempts to unionize major junior hockey.
Frankly, it all just seems a little flaky to us. And with all due respect, the fact Georges Laraque has been named executive director does little to alleviate our pessimism.
Doesn’t really strike you as the next Donald Fehr.
There’s also this tidbit from Yahoo! Sports, which spoke to an unnamed player that was contacted about joining the union.
“I was given a hazy call last week about joining the CHLPA,” said the player, who did not want his name used. “(They) then followed up with an unprofessional email with no credentials.”
He didn’t bother to follow up.
Not sure how unprofessional an email has to be in order for a junior hockey player to deem it unprofessional, but if we had to guess, we’d say pretty unprofessional. (“Do u want 2 join a union? Shd be sweet!!!!”)
All that said, it does raise an interesting question: Should junior hockey players be paid more than the paltry weekly stipend they currently receive? Because it’s not like they’re playing in front of friends and family. These are multimillion-dollar operations. A lot of teams in the CHL outdraw those in the AHL.
(Yes, CHL players can earn money that goes towards furthering their education once their junior careers are over, but as Sportsnet’s Mark Spector points out, that money disappears if not used fairly soon after it becomes available.)
Of course, a similar debate has been raging in the NCAA for years, though over a lot more money. How much money? Well, last May, the Pac-12 signed a $2.7 billion TV contract with ESPN and FOX.
But if you’re an NCAA player — pardon me, “student athlete” — just be careful you don’t accept any free tattoos.