Hockey Central
Inside the NHL A-D
Age of Player
Today, a player must turn 18 years of age by September 15 of the year in which he is eligible to be drafted by an NHL club. The requirement that a player be 18 years old prior to competing in the NHL was first introduced in 1950 when then NHL president Clarence Campbell negotiated an agreement with all North American professional leagues that moved the age limit for signing players or placing their names on negotiation lists from 16 to 18.
Armand "Bep" Guidolin was the youngest player ever to play in the NHL. Guidolin was only 16 years old when he made his NHL debut for Boston in November 1942. Guidolin would go on to play nine years for Boston, Detroit and Chicago.
Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks was as young as a player can be when he was drafted second overall in 1997. Marleau was born on September 15, 1979, and was the exact minimum age for 1997 draft eligibility. He made his NHL debut less than three weeks after his 18th birthday on October 1, 1997.
Before the beginning of the 1931-32 season a formal definition of an assist was adopted for the first time by the NHL's Board of Governors. It read as follows: "A goal shall be credited in the scoring records of a player who shall have propelled the puck into the opponent's goal. When such a goal shall have been scored as a result of an act of a player of the same side, such a player shall be credited in the scoring records with an "assist". An assist may not be credited, however, to a player unless the act of 'assistance' take place within the defending zone of the opposing team. If a goal was scored from a rebound from a goal-keeper or from any part of the goal, credit for an 'assist' shall be given to the player whose shot caused such rebound."
In 1978-79, to remove an unfair advantage that some teams had in their home rinks where their player bench was located on the same side of the ice as the penalty bench (thus allowing for a quick substitution for a player when his penalty expired), the NHL introduced a rule that required that the player benches for both teams be located on the same side of the ice. A waiver was provided to teams whose buildings were built prior to 1978 to maintain their benches in their current position. By 1988-89, however, all teams were required to have both the home and visiting benches on the same side of the ice with the penalty bench located on the opposite side. This meant significant renovations in some NHL buildings.
Board of Governors
The NHL is governed by a Board of Governors which establishes the policies of the league and upholds the constitution and bylaws. Each NHL club appoints a governor as well as alternate governors who are vested with the full power and authority to represent their club and bind it by their vote. The Board of Governors has two scheduled meetings during the year (June and December) as well as special meetings as necessary.
There is also a Chairman of the Board, a position first created in 1953. The chairman is elected for a two-year term. The Board of Governors was officially formed in November 1925.
Central Registry
The NHL's Central Registry Department is responsible for maintaining all player information. It maintains the NHL clubs' reserve lists which contain the names and vital status information of all players a club has proprietary rights to, either contractual rights or exclusive negotiation rights. It records the status of each player with regard to contracts, waivers, free agency etc. It tracks a player from the first time he is drafted until the completion of his career as a player.
Central Scouting
NHL Central Scouting (SCC) was established prior to the start of the 1975-76 season as a service for the NHL member clubs. CSS supplies the NHL clubs with personal and hockey information and rankings on draft-eligible players throughout the world; schedules, team rosters and directories for amateur leagues; weekly reports on injuries and roster changes of draft-eligible players; and video on draft-eligible players.
CSS consists of nine full-time and six part-time scouts, a director of scouting, and an administrative staff. The scouts file reports from more than 3,000 games throughout North America and Europe during a hockey season as well as coordinate medical and fitness testing for more than 150 draft-eligible players.
Two player rankings are done each season—one in late January and the final ranking in May.
The NHL Commissioner, as selected by the Board of Governors, serves as the chief executive officer of the league and is charged with protecting the integrity of the game and preserving public confidence in the league. The commissioner has the responsibility for the general supervision and direction of all business and affairs of the league and has all such powers as may be necessary or appropriate to fulfill his responsibilities.
The officer of commissioner was created in December 1992 with the appointment of Gary B. Bettman. Mr. Bettman assumed office on February 1, 1993. Five others have served as the league's chief executive officer under the title of president. The five men are: Frank Calder, (1917 to 1943); Mervyn "Red" Dutton (1943 to 1946); Clarence Campbell (1946 to 1977); John Ziegler (1977 to 1992) and Gil Stein (1992-1993).
Constitution, NHL
The purposes and objects of the National Hockey League, as stated in its constitution are:
a) To perpetuate hockey as one of the national games of the United States and Canada
b) The promotion of the common interests of the members of the league, each member being an owner of a professional hockey club located in the United States or Canada.
c) The promulgation of rules governing the conduct of play of hockey games between the member clubs in the league, the relationships between players and member clubs, between member clubs and other hockey clubs, to the end that the public may be assured of a high standard of skill and fair play, integrity and good sportsmanship.
d) The arbitration and settlement of disputes between the member clubs and between member clubs and players.
e) The education of the public, through advertising, radio and other media, to the end that professional hockey, as played according to the standards of the league, may gain popular support and acceptance as a wholesome entertainment.
f) The development of youth in mind and body and the teaching of fair play and good sportsmanship through the media of hockey.
Canadian Supplementary Currency Assistance Plan
The Canadian Supplementary Currency Assistance Plan was adopted on January 5, 1996. The plan has two key features to assist eligible Canadian clubs in addressing the disparity between the United States and Canadian dollars.
Canadian clubs in the bottom half of NHL revenues are eligible for assistance. Eligible clubs must qualify annually for assistance by wither having revenues that are at least 80 percent of the NHL average or by selling defined numbers of season tickets, arena suites and dasherboards. Eligible qualifying clubs may receive up to $5 million in United States funds. The precise amount of assistance that eligible qualifying clubs will receive will depend on the magnitude of the currency differential, club revenues and the available pool of distribution.
Eligible Canadian clubs may also receive a subsidy for Group II players to whom they have tendered a qualifying offer and who receive offer sheets from U.S. teams. By way of example, if a player is presently earning $1 million in Canadian funds and is offered $1.5 million in U.S. funds and the currency differential is 40%, the subsidy would be calculated as follows:
1. New contract (CDN$) = $1.95 million
2. Old contract (CDN$) = $1 million
3. Difference = $950,000
4. Currency factor = 40 %
5. Subsidy = $380,000 (CDN)
Collective Bargaining Agreements
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association runs through September 15, 2004.
The NHL clubs first recognized the National Hockey League Players' Association as the exclusive representative of all players employed by the clubs in June 1967, prior to the NHL's first expansion from six to 12 teams.
From 1967 until the execution of their first formal Collective Bargaining Agreement on May 4, 1976, the clubs and the NHLPA reached agreements on business matters through collective bargaining, which were reflected in minutes of owner-player meetings, in standard players' contracts and in an arbitration agreement relating to said contracts.
On May 4, 1976, the NHLPA and the clubs published their first comprehensive, printed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Although the CBA's stated term would not expire until September 30, 1980, one of the points agreed to was that the clubs and the NHLPA would continue the process of collective bargaining throughout its duration, through an "owner-player" council which would meet twice a year.
Through the establishment of this process of continuing negotiations, the players and owners were able to amend the CBA in May 1977, September 1977, January 1978, February 1979, June 1979, August 1979 and November 1979.
On August 1, 1981 a second comprehensive CBA between the clubs and the NHLPA was printed.
The CBA's stated term would expire September 15, 1984 but an ongoing dialogue continued which resulted in numerous changes to the agreement in the interim.
On November 1, 1984 a third comprehensive CBA between the clubs and the NHLPA was printed, which clarified existing terms that had previously been agreed to and incorporated all amendments to the prior CBA then in effect. The next expiry date for the CBA was September 15, 1986.
On June 1, 1988 a fourth comprehensive CBA was printed with the stated term set to expire on September 15, 1991.
The 1991-92 NHL season began without a CBA in place. Negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA were unsuccessful in averting a strike by the players on April 1, 1992. This spurred negotiations and a retroactive two-year CBA was reached on April 10. It would expire before the start of the 1993-94 season. (See Labor Disruptions.)
The 1993-94 season was also played without a CBA in place. Negotiations of varying levels of intensity took place through September of 1994. The NHL's club owners locked out the players, postponing the start of the 1994-95 season for what would prove to be 103 days. Play resumed on January 20, 1995. Teams played a 48-game schedule.
The CBA that resulted from the lockout had a clause that would have allowed either side to reopen negotiations, but that reopener was waived by both parties in October 1995. On June 25, in connection with the addition of four new expansion franchises on June 25, 1997, the agreement was extended through September 15, 2004.
Contract, Standard Player's
A standard player's contract is an agreement between the club and player for a specified term for a specified salary. Following is a summary of some of the clauses contained in the Standard Player's Contract.
  • A player is paid in consecutive semi-monthly installments from the commencement of the regular season until the conclusion of the regular season.
  • A player agrees to give his best services to the club that has signed him and to play hockey only for that club unless his contract is release, assigned, exchanged or loaned by his club.
  • A player also agrees to provide his services and to play hockey in all regular-season, All-Star, international, exhibition and Stanley Cup playoff games.
  • If a player, in the sole judgment of the club's physician, is disabled and unable to perform his duties as a hockey player by reason of an injury sustained during the course of his employment as a hockey player, including travel with his team or on business requested by the club, he shall be entitled to receive his remaining salary due in accordance with the terms of this contract for the remaining stated term of this contract (excluding option period).
  • The player and the club recognize and agree that the player's participation in other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a hockey player. Accordingly the player agrees that he will not not during the period of his contract engage or participate in football, baseball, softball, hockey, lacrosse, boxing, wrestling or other athletic sport without the written consent of the club.
  • The club recognizes that the player owns exclusive rights to his individual personality, including his likeness. The player recognizes that the club owns exclusive rights to his name, emblems and uniform which the player wears as a hockey player for the club.
Development Club
Some NHL clubs maintain a player-development club in one of the professional minor leagues, while others either share minor-league clubs or have working agreements to provide a certain number of players to a specific minor-league club.