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CHL players underpaid, overworked, and undercompensated.

This is a picture of the Memorial Cup overlooking a lake.
Image Credits: Aaron Bell

It's a magical dream to become a professional hockey player for many Canadians. However, in the CHL, there seems to be an ongoing issue around the financial issues that concern the league, and there are many players that come and go, and there is a great many that had success in those leagues. Some were rewarded, some were not, but the ones who have long been forgotten about have never been given more than a kick in the ass on the way out the door. For many, the hurt is especially felt in the bank account, where they make as little as 35 CAD per week, and let's not lose sight of the fact that their players are aged 16-20, signing contracts that they don't understand, signing away their rights for what amounts to millions in jersey, t-shirt, and video game sales.


For a good team in the CHL, they might make upwards of 50 million USD, and even for the worst, they may still come away with a good 10 million USD. Small town market teams may not make the same kind of money as the bigger market teams, such as the Vancouver Giants, Seattle Thunderbirds, London Knights, or the Quebec Remparts. However, there is still money to be made by linking hockey programs for younger kids to the big league junior teams, such as the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, or the Swift Current Broncos. They may not make much off of ticket sales, but they still have every square inch of the boards covered with sponsors and advertisements, and that alone is worth millions of dollars. The strength of the CHL's leverage is greater than most could imagine, and as a result, the NHL is completely dependent on it.


In 2013, the CHL Commissioners, David Branch, and the Deputy Commissioner of the NHL, Bill Daly, drafted an agreement in which the NHL puts money into the pockets of the CHL for specific expenses. It was a 7 year-long agreement in which the NHL reimburses no less than 750 000 $ (all amounts paid to the CHL are believed to be in USD) to each of the 3 leagues under the CHL umbrella. The NHL also pays the leagues at least 255 000 $ each on average for the cost of educating players on substance abuse, gambling, and sexual activity. They also pay at least 315 000 $ for concussion related services, 775 000 $ for officiating, 500 000 $ for elite player skill development, and an annual grant to the CHL of 7 605 000 $ or however much the two parties deemed necessary just for the sake of giving them a grant. These amounts were paid to the CHL in 2 installments on November 14 and February 1st. After all the associated costs were listed, the total grant amounted to 79 800 000 $ over 7 years, an average of 11 400 000 $ per season.


Another issue is the money they pay to the CHL to retain players to burn out the entry-level contracts, usually signed at 925 000 $ for 3 years. But because these contracts are 2-way, the big money only gets paid to players who make their NHL roster. They agreed to give the CHL up to 60 000 $ for a skater and up to 75 000 $ for a goalie who is retained after the start of the season. That amount increases to a maximum of 85 000 $ per skater and 100 000$ for the 2nd season being retained by the CHL.


After all is said and done, the CHL not only makes money by withholding it from their players, but they stand to make money by saving the NHL big amounts. They save 307 000 000$ a year from the NHL, because they only have to pay the signing bonus to a player who signs an entry-level deal. The NHL pays you, why can't you pay your players?

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