Hockey Central
Inside the NHL I-R
Injured Reserve List
A club may place a player on the injured reserve list if such player is injured or 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 after having passed the club's initial physical examination in that season.
A player who has an injury that renders him physically unable to play for a minimum of seven days after the date of the injury can be placed on the club's injured reserve list. Once a player is placed on injured reserve, the club may replace said player on its NHL roster with another player. All determinations that a player has suffered an injury warranting injured reserve list status must be made by the club's medical stall and in accordance with the club's medical standards.
A played placed on injured reserve is ineligible to complete in NHL games for a period of not less than seven days from the date of injury. A player will be eligible for activation beginning the eighth day from the date of injury.
Players on injured reserve may attend club meetings and meals, travel with their club and participate in practise sessions.
Labor Disruptions
During its more than 80-year history, the NHL has been virtually free of labor strife. There have been only two labor disputes that forced the postponement of regular-season games—a 10-day players' strike in April 1992 and a 103-day lockout during the 1994-95 campaign.
There has also been one strike by on-ice officials. On November 15, 1993, the 58 members of the NHL Officials' Association initiated a strike. The strike lasted 16 days. The league and the NHLOA agreed upon a four-year collective bargaining agreement on November 30, 1993. Referees and linesmen returned to duty on December 2.
Details of the 1992 strike and 1994 lockout follows:
1992 Players' Strike
The process which led to the players' strike in 1992 actually began on May 14, 1991 when the NHL owners announced their intention to extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement by one year. This declaration was pursuant to a clause in the CBA which stated that a notice of termination and proposed revisions be provided "not less than 120 days prior to the 15th day of September, 1991." The league claimed that the NHLPA's notice of termination and proposed revisions on May 14 was defective as it did not provide any proposals for a revised CBA. The league later requested that the matter be heard by an arbitrator, while the NHLPA balked at any negotiations as long as the threat of an arbitration loomed.
On August 20, 1991, the league withdrew its request for arbitration thereby meeting the NHLPA's request and a month-long period of negotiating began in earnest. While the season commenced as scheduled in October, bargaining sessions ground to a halt between September 25, 1991 and March 9, 1992.
Numerous bargaining sessions during the month of March 1992 yielded very little in the way of progress, however, and on March 20, with the playoffs imminent, the NHLPA announced a strike deadline of March 30 if no agreement were concluded by that time. Forty minutes before the players were to strike NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow announced a postponement of the deadline until April 1. On April 1, 1992, at 3:00 p.m. ET, with no agreement in place, the NHL players announced that, by a vote of 560-4, they would commence the first league-wide players' strike in NHL history.
A few moments later, President Zieglar announced at a news conference in the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto: "It is with deep regret that I advise that effective 3:01 p.m. (EST) April 1, 1992, I have declared the 1991-92 NHL season suspended on a day-to-day basis until further notice. This action is required by reason of the unprecedented and regretful decision of the National Hockey League Players' Association to go on strike. Our concerns are for and with the great fans of hockey who will suffer the most from the action taken today by the NHLPA."
Despite the doom and gloom, little time was wasted getting back to the bargaining table as several negotiating sessions took place between April 1-7. Zieglar delivered a final offer to the NHLPA on April 7, with the provision that the offer be accepted by 12 noon Friday, April 10. Failing acceptance, the clubs would be unable to conclude their season and there would be no Stanley Cup playoff games. Later that day (April 7), less than four hours after receiving the offer, the NHLPA rejected the league's offer. Nevertheless, the offer remained open for acceptance until 3:00 p.m. on April 9. A marathon 14-hour bargaining session in New York eventually concluded with a new two-year Agreement (1991-92 and 1992-93) shortly before midnight on April 10.
At a new conference beginning at 12:04 a.m. on April 11 at the Plaza Hotel in New York, President Zieglar stated: "I'm pleased to report that after a very long day, at times a very difficult day, a day that demonstrated the spirit that traditionally has been between owners and players, we came to a meeting of the minds with respect to the essential provisions and have reached an agreement in principle."
Goodenow stated "I guess to me the turning point was on Wednesday (April 1), I'd say about 6:00 p.m. There were some owners who came to Toronto with John Ziegler, and I had a feeling then that there was an ambition, a dedication to get this thing taken care of."
The season resumed on Sunday, April 12 with 11 of the remaining 30 regular-season games played. A full slate of Stanley Cup playoff games then ensued.
1994 Lockout
On May 10, 1993 the NHL Board of Governors voted not to terminate the CBA which was set to expire on September 15, 1993. Instead they wished to allow the agreement to remain in effect for an additional year in order to afford ample opportunity to reach a new comprehensive agreement. Ten days later, on May 20, Goodenow advised Bettman that the NHLPA had decided to end the CBA that September. Bettman said at the time: "The clubs had decided that, notwithstanding their unhappiness with numerous aspects of the agreement, the most prudent course was to opt for a year of stability and careful planning, in the hopes of avoiding the possibility of contentious labor negotiations during the summer and fall. We know that there are a great many issues to be resolved and we look forward to working closely with the players on those matters. We are disappointed that the agreement had to be reopened at this time. We will negotiate diligently and in good faith to reach a new CBA as soon as possible."
The league played under an expired Collective Bargaining Agreement for the entire 1993-94 season.
Over the 18 month-period from JUne 1993 through January 1995, representatives of the NHL and NHLPA would meet formally and informally more than 40 times, but an agreement would not be reached until the NHL had closed its doors for 103 days from October 11, 1994 until January 20,1995.
There was a five-month hiatus in the talks from March until August 1994, and when the negotiations did resume on August 9, 1994 it was against the backdrop of a series of takebacks in a 19-point plan (valued at $20 million) which the league intended to implement on September 1 in the absence of a new CBA. The intended purpose of the threat of the takebacks was to get the negotiations back on track, but following a two-hour meeting with the union, Commissioner Bettman stated, "We did not make as much progress as I would have hoped. It was a very small step in terms of substance."
While the threat of a lockout loomed, training camps did open as scheduled on September 4 because of the fact that negotiations were in full swing in an attempt to reach an Agreement. By September 30, however, with no agreement in sight, the league announced a two-week postponement of the opening of the regular season. If an agreement was reached by then, a full regular-season complement of games would begin on October 15. By October 11, the NHL's Board of Governors voted to postpone indefinitely the start of the season and less than two weeks later (October 24), announced the cancellation of four games. Ten more games were lopped off the schedule on November 2. NHL stars such as Toronto's Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour, Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr and Quebec's Peter Forsberg made their way overseas to maintain their conditioning in European leagues.
A month of more talks still produced nothing and on December 12 the Board of Governors authorized Commissioner Bettman to cancel the season if a 50-game schedule could not be played. January 16 was identified as the last possible starting date to play 50 games.
Finally, after two days of marathon bargaining (January 9-10) between the two principle negotiators—NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow— the league's offer was accepted, subject to ratification, by the NHLPA. A new six-year CBA was in place through September 15, 2000. Training camps opened on January 13 and a 48-game 1995 regular season began on January 20.
Last Line Change
The rule which provides the home team with the last line change of players prior to the resumption of play was introduced for the 1990-91 season.
Last Minute of Play
The NHL first required that a public address announcement be made of the last minute of a period for the 1946-47 season.
Marketing The Game
In the second half of the 1990s the National Hockey League has taken a new view of the marketing of the game. The key principle in this new approach is exposure. Sponsorship agreements, licensing programs, grassroots fan development initiatives, broadcasting, publishing ventures and the use of new technology have all combined to increase exposure for the sport of hockey, NHL players and the league.
When the NHL signs an agreement with a new corporate partner, or extends an agreement with a longtime partner, the goal is to have the partner support the game in a variety of ways. No longer do sponsors buy a place in the game without providing support for programs that will help the sport grow.
For example, Nike had gotten into the hockey business and now sells equipment and licensed merchandise. But Nike also supports grassroots initiatives to get young people playing hockey in a program called Nike/NHL Street. This program puts sticks and pucks in the hands of almost 300,000 young people a year.
Working with other partners such as Wendy's, Labatt, Anheuser Busch, IBM, Coca-Cola and Dodge, the NHL has drawn unprecedented exposure in the 1990s.
The overall growth of the licensing business has been reflected in the growth of sales of NHL licensed merchandise. In the 1998 business year, sales of NHL licensed products increased by more than 30 percent, outpacing the industry trend.
In 1993, the NHL identified fan development as a key area in trying to increase interest in the sport of hockey. Since then the NHL Fan Development Department has instituted a series of off-ice programs to attract new fans. The most intensive work had been down with a program known as NHL Breakout, a touring two-day street and in-line hockey tournament and interactive fan festival. In 1998, NHL Breakout visited 22 cities and attracted more than 300,000 participants and spectators.
The broadcast of NHL games on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "Hockey Night in Canada" is the longest running regularly scheduled television program in North America. For the 1998-99 season, the NHL's Canadian cable partner changes to CTV Sports Net. In the United States, Fox Sports is the network broadcaster of NHL games and ESPN holds the cable rights.
On the Internet, has become one of the most popular sports sites on the Worldwide Web. The result of a unique alliance with IBM, known as NHL ICE (NHL Interactive Cyber Enterprises), gives hockey fans around the world real-time access to statistics, summaries, news, features and video of NHL games and the sport of hockey.
National Anthems
Although several teams had played their country's national anthem prior to games several years earlier, the NHL first required that the national anthem of the home club be played prior to a game for the 1946-47 season. For the 1997-98 season, the league expanded the regulation to its present-day form from which requires, when a U.S. and Canadian club are competing, both national anthems be played.
The NHL's Officiating Department is responsible for the recruiting, assigning, training and evaluating of NHL referees and linesmen for preseason, regular season and Stanley Cup playoff games. In addition, the league assigns referees for all games in the American Hockey League and for some games in the West Coast Hockey League, Western Professional Hockey League and the three Canadian major junior leagues. In 1997-98, NHL-assigned officials worked more than 2,100 games.
The 1997-98 staff consisted of 17 NHL referees, 33 NHL linesmen, 11 minor-league referees, 15 trainee referees, two linesmen trainees and nine supervisors.
The development system for officials mirrors that of a player with many of the NHL officials recruited while working junior and collegiate hockey before working their way up through the minor professional system.
During the NHL's inaugural season of 1917-18, local referees (one per game) were employed in each of the three NHL cities at a fee of $12.50 per game. The policy of using local referees for NHL games was discontinued in 1926 when the league appointed a full-time staff of six referees.
Beginning in the 1983-84 season, the league instituted a five minute "sudden death" overtime period for regular season games.
Per Diem
a per diem of $5 for players (players also paid their own hotel room and were allotted $2.50) was first introduced in the league during the 1930-1 season. A uniform per diem was introduced for players for the first time during the 1968-69 season ($15 per day with the proviso that on game days when clubs provided players with a steak dinner, only $7.50 was paid). Previously, clubs would decide what their team's per diem would be.
Today, a player's per diem is $70.
Players, Europeans
Jaroslav Drobny, a member of the Czechoslovakian national team that won the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in 1947, was the first European player to appear on an NHL club's reserve list. Drobny was placed on Boston's negotiating list in 1949 but would never play in the NHL.
On March 29, 1989 Sergei Priakin, a right winger with the Soviet national team, became the first Soviet player to be permitted by the USSR Ice Hockey Federation to play in the NHL. Priakin signed a contract with the Calgary Flames.
Playoff Eligibility
The idea of a playoff eligibility list was first introduced for the 1946 Stanley Cup playoffs when clubs were required to submit a list of 25 players (excluding goaltenders) who would be eligible to play in that year's playoffs to the league office by March 1. The only additions to the list after the deadline would be players returning from active military service oversees.
Today, only players on the reserve list of an NHL club at the trading deadline may participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Protective Glass
Protective glass surrounding the boards first appeared in the NHL at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in 1948. The use of protective glass in all NHL buildings became mandatory in the 1950s.
Reserve List
During World War II, NHL team rosters were severely depleted as players fulfilled their military obligations. For that reason, the league had loose restrictions on roster limitations. Beginning on May 15, 1947, however, the league required that a club's reserve list not exceed 40 players.
Today, a member club may have on its reserve list, at any one time, not more than 90 players, which shall include the following:
  • Not more than 50 players signed to standard player contracts and not less than 24 players and three goalkeepers under contract. Age 18 and age 19 players who were returned to Canadian Major Junior Hockey clubs, and who have not played 11 games in the National Hockey League in one season, are exempt from inclusion in the 50 player limit.
  • Unsigned draft selections.
Rink-Board Advertising
Clubs were first granted the right to advertise on rink boards beginning with the 1978-79 season. Such advertising first appeared in 1980 and by the 1989-90 season, all NHL clubs were using rink-board advertising.
Advertising on the ice surface first appeared in the early 1990s.
Roster, 24-Man
There may be a maximum of 24 players on each club's playing roster at any one time from the commencement of the NHL regular season through the trade deadline. Prior to the start of the season, each club must submit to the NHL its "opening day playing roster" which shall be comprised of not more than 24 players. Each club must have a roster of at least 20 players, composed of 18 skaters and two goaltenders. Players on injured reserve do not count in the 24-man limit.
Roster, Playing
The current playing roster of 18 skaters and two goaltenders was established for the 1982-83 season. The size of the playing roster has varied considerably in league history. In 1925-26, the playing roster was set at 12-man maximum; it was increased to 15 skaters in 1929-30 and varied for 12 to 16 skaters plus goalies until 1971-72. Between 1971-72 and 1981-82, the playing roster was set at 17 skaters and two goalies.