Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tomorrow is crucial meeting between NHL and IIHF

Jan. 16 is the date of a crucial meeting between the NHL and IIHF, regarding the future of the transfer agreement that governs the movement of Europeans to NHL teams. Keep your eyes and ears open for news of the outcome. It will have far-reaching consequences.

From a December CP article:

Both the NHL and IIHF essentially agree on the main problem with the current agreement, that too many young European players are signed and come over to the NHL before they are ready. Of the 59 European players that signed NHL contracts for 2007-08, the IIHF says only six currently play in the NHL. Seven were returned to Europe and 46 are in North American minor leagues.

"This is detrimental to player development and to the European leagues," said Fasel.

The NHL agrees, especially since the current agreement sees the league pay US$200,000 for each European transfer - whether they make the NHL or not.

"The key will be to see if a dynamic can be created that will disincentivize our clubs from signing European players and bringing them to North America before they are ready to play in the NHL," Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, told The Canadian Press. ...

"Quite frankly, the current structure of this agreement is too expensive for us," said Daly. "We have to take a hard look at how this is working and how we can modify it so that we are no longer signing as many players who aren't yet ready for play in the NHL - and we aren't obligated to pay as much money as a result."

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