Tuesday, June 17, 2008

European hockey federations reject transfer agreement options

"In the short term, our clubs will access European players by signing them when they are free of conflicting contractual obligations,'— NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, responding to the changing landscape of contracts with European players

The Czech Republic joined Russia this week to walk away from the current transfer agreement, leaving the two continents of hockey to prepare for what may turn into a hockey bazaar just in time for the new Russian Super League to get ready to take to the ice in the fall.

Despite IIHF President Rene Fasel’s best efforts to convince the Czechs, their move brings to a conclusion for now, of one of the most controversy riddled agreements in hockey’s history, that began with the departure of the Russians three years ago.

The Europeans have never felt particularly properly compensated for their budding young talent, who frequently gravitate to the NHL as they head for their peak performance years.

NHL clubs have spent some 11 million dollars per year to try and find those nuggets of gold amongst the many European talents that seek out their fame in the cradle of hockey consumerism. It’s a number that many of the European teams feel needs to be increased, especially with the declining state of the US dollar these days.

With Russia’s Super league a new option for European players, there very well may soon be some major bidding wars for talent, an inflationary spiral that may cause even more troubles for some of the NHL’s struggling franchises and leading the NHL into a scenario more familiar to the world of soccer than hockey, with frequent high profile movements.

National Post-- European clubs opt out of IIHF-NHL player transfer agreement
Canadian Press-- NHL to go 'different direction' after transfer agreement with IIHF expires
International Herald Tribune-- NHL enters era of football-style transfers from Europe as old deal expires

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