As if Gary Bettman doesn’t have enough problems on his plate these days. What with the flat lining of television ratings in the US, the prospect of failing franchises in his dreamland area of the Southeast, and a storied franchise less than thirty days from possibly having to moving along the NHL rodeo circuit.
Nope, for the Commish the good news just keeps a comin’.
The latest message for the in box is that there is more dissatisfaction on the International front. The case has already been made, about how the Russians are more than annoyed about the transfer situation between their federation and the NHL, with too many of their star players being airlifted out of the homeland for the lucre of the money league and for what the Russians consider a pittance.
Now the Czech Republic has stepped up to complain about the NHL’s way of doing things. In an article in the Czech Business Weekly, Zbyněk Kusý a Czech club team General Manager and the General Manager of the Czech National team says that; “We’ve been ripped off by the NHL, but it’s better to get something than nothing, which would happen if we didn’t agree to the draft.”
A less than subtle way of saying that they are not impressed with the NHL and its approach to the free trade of hockey players from their side of the ocean. With a special emphasis it would seem on the “free” thing.
The Draft that Kusý refers to is a proposal that the NHL presented in late 2006, that would pay $15 million to Europe per season over the next three years in compensation for departed players. The departure of many Czech stars is a rather large sore point as the NHL drains the nation of many of their most promising young talents, leaving the club teams with less to show the fans at home and making the National team a harder operation to keep on track as well.
There are a number of nations considering the NHL’s proposal, and it seems that a backlash is brewing over the NHL’s terms and conditions. The way things seem to be going these days, it may not be long before Mr. Bettman has to add International relations to the top of that to do list, otherwise the flow of exciting Europeans may soon slow down quite a bit.
A situation that might make Don Cherry and a number of others pretty happy, but will certainly once again change the dynamic of the new look NHL...
Czechs irked by NHL offer
By: Tereza Tomíčková,
08. 01. 2007,
Czech Business Weekly
The continuous exodus of young hockey players to North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) has been draining the pool of home-grown talent and decreasing the competitiveness of the Czech national hockey team on the international circuit.
In contrast to local football clubs that eye players’ trade with foreign clubs as a source of hefty income, hockey clubs are crying foul over the transfer plans between Europe and the NHL.
Under the standing agreement signed by the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in 2005, the NHL paid $200,000 (Kč 4.1 million/€ 150,900) per player upon his departure to the NHL. Altogether, the NHL paid to European clubs $9.7 million last season.
In late 2006, the NHL came up with a draft of a new deal that would pay $15 million to Europe per season over the next three years in compensation for departed players. The draft was presented to hockey representatives from the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Slovakia, Germany and Switzerland at a December meeting in Zurich.
The new deal would relax the current regulation that only 45 players from one country can be drafted per season by the NHL. As a result, transfer fees could sink below $200,000 per player, said Martin Urban, general secretary of the Czech Ice Hockey Association (ČSLH). “Everything would now depend on the number of players leaving for the NHL,” Urban said.
Although the new contract was disadvantageous, Czech clubs agreed not to object to it, said HC Pardubice general manager Zbyněk Kusý, who also works as the Czech national team’s general manager.
“We’ve been ripped off by the NHL, but it’s better to get something than nothing, which would happen if we didn’t agree to the draft,” Kusý said.
The NHL stipulated that the new agreement will become valid only if all seven European countries give their consent to the deal. The draft is now being considered by the national hockey associations.