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What does the 1976 minor hockey study prove today?



This is a picture of NHL2012, NHL2013, NHL2014, NHL2015, NHL2016, NHL2017, NHL2018, NHL2019, NHL2020, and NHL2021. WHL players are in all of these video games.
WHL players are in all of these video games, but they don't even get the game for free.

Image Source: The Hockey News


After reading this study, I decided to try to link this to the issues today with the player and team contract agreement. What I found is that the WHL falsely declares that it is a nonprofit organization, while making hundreds of millions of dollars from jersey sales, video game rights, hockey card rights, TV deals, ticket sales, and concession sales. They falsely declare that WHL players are amateurs, despite paying them a pathetic amount of money, and during the contract, they continue to refer to these players as "amateurs". They also falsely declare that verbal agreements are null and void, but it is a known fact that they can hold up in court with sufficient evidence. They also illegally withhold the copy of their contract from the player. They consistently refer to Regulations & Rules are stated as being in place from time to time, meaning that they can enforce whatever rules that they want at any given moment, which brings us back to the discretionary power that the 1976 study criticized.


As the contract pertains to post-secondary education, they do not support players in this financially if it goes unclaimed after a year. Players forced to pay 10% interest compounded monthly for failure in post-secondary education, but the team will not cancel classes if you have to miss time due to injury. Players are ineligible for scholarship benefits if they have NHL contract, play for AHL team, play pro in Europe, do not enroll by September 15 after one year following his 20 year old season, or 2 years following his 19 year old season, or does not attend in consecutive years full-time the year after the benefits were first used, which narrows the capacity to receive one down to a small minority of players. The contract also defines scholarship expenses as reasonable if it is a publicly funded institution, which discourages academic excellence if they won't get a full ride.


The contract says not to accept additional benefits from the club or any third party, despite them paying players and making them renounce their NCAA eligibility. It is also written in that the player transfers all rights, commercial or otherwise, to the Club and WHL, therefore going against another recommendation made by that study, stating that players should be allowed to market themselves. They go on to contradict themselves by saying in Paragraph 4.7 that they need to obtain the written consent of the players for his likeness, even though they already use the players names for video games, jersey sales, hockey card deals, and other merchandise.


They then go on to say that the player is not allowed to use his own likeness in association with copyrighted logos for whatever reason without the written consent of the Club, WHL, or CHL, further eliminating economic opportunity for the player. It appears that they only wish for the players to seek endorsements if they get a piece of the action.


They are not required to pay for disability insurance, so if a player gets injured in such a manner that they can't work certain jobs when they're finished with Junior hockey, the league does not back them up. The fact that all disputes between Club and player are sent to the WHL Commissioner shows a heavily tipped scale in favor of the owners, going against another recommendation from that study that players be given a fair right to recourse. Article 10 clearly states that the contract is null and void if they fail to honor their agreements to the Player. 10.1 (a) (ii) clearly states that rules and regulations are firmly established, contradicting themselves in many earlier paragraphs where they state that they are in place from time to time.


Only if they are not on the protected list of 50 Players, they will get released by their Club, and they need to obtain a written release from the WHL, and pay 500 000$ in either currency, depending on where the team is located. Only if the Player is unfit as a result of an injury related to the WHL can they survive termination of the agreement. If the Player is injured in an off-ice accident, then the league has the option to terminate the contract, regardless of what happened.


It also goes on to define certain medical expenses as reasonable, and says only certain medical assessments are reasonable, meaning that they only want their doctors in the picture, and therefore restrict the player's medical freedom. Players do not have unrestricted free agency after the season.


They say that they pay for the player’s travel expenses, but there are personal testimonies saying otherwise, and they do not pay their players enough to even remotely cover gas expenses. Tutors and educational advisors are deemed only as reasonably necessary expenses, contradicting earlier statements that say that the Club must have them with the team.


It is unknown how much the Players willingly consented to as individuals. For contracts to be fully in effect, there needs to be a 3rd party witness. This contract has been illegal, invalid, and unenforceable before, making the contracts extremely illegal. Only the province or state in which the litigation takes place may have jurisdiction over this, limiting the player's capacity for recourse.


The warning issued in 1976 was clearly dismissed and shouted down, and so nearly 50 years later, we find ourselves fighting the same battle. The WHL uses ambiguous language, complicated terms, takes advantage of minors and their parents, and the few token bonuses that are there for players go largely unclaimed, due to a seemingly bureaucratic process and a short window to claim them. The contradictory nature in the contract also leaves many wondering, "What was the promise? Was there ever one? What did they really intend on giving us?" Every contract that the players signed is null and void, and they do not have to comply with the contract. If every player knew this though, what would the WHL do?

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