Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NHL hits new low, restricts player-parent road trips

League says 'Thank Yous' by teams, players possibly violates salary cap

By Wild Road Tripper

In an opinion almost bordering on the absurd, the National Hockey League has deemed player-parent road trips, where the team pays for hotels, meals and brings Dad or Mom (or other relative, for those players whose parents are deceased) along on a road trip, may be a violation of the league-imposed salary cap. The league, thru Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, has deemed trips of more than two games (three days) length, possibly violates the salary cap, saying that it is a 'player benefit', (game tickets, hotel rooms, meals and city tours are paid for by the club), which could lead to salary-cap violations.

The opinion was published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in Wednesday's editions, the day after the Minnesota Wild completed their second father-son road trip in three seasons.

Wild Road Tripper sez:

This is a classic reason why the NHL is penny-wise and pound-foolish. By the time your average NHL player makes it to the 'big club' level, their parents have logged somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-70,000 miles, having subjugated their professional careers, personal lives and the rest of their families (for those who don't have other kids in hockey), in order to meet the ever-growing demands of playing at the elite levels needed, in order to hone the skills necessary to compete at the top levels. They also have invested somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000-200,000 in their child for hockey equipment, ice time, travel and medical expenses as well. This money provides the base which supports the system which feeds the NHL.

Bringing the parents along is actually great public relations. It shows that the players are not just automotons, that they have families just like we fans do. Families who have put up with a hell of a lot of B.S., in order to have their kids at the pro hockey level. Their sacrifice and their efforts to support their kids (even as adults) should be celebrated, especially when someone else (i.e., the NHL teams) are willing to pay for it. It may take different forms, especially in markets (Phoenix, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose) where hockey and cold weather don't necessarily mix. To limit how each club can take the parents is absolutely ridiculous. Next thing we know, the NHL will arbitrarily limit where they can go (e.g., you may NOT take them to Toronto or Montreal, but you MAY take them to Nashville, Atlanta or Florida only, but never in December, January or February.)

Another great move by the master of 'great moves', NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He can't even announce this himself; they drag out the hired hand, Bill Daly, in order to do it. Does the cowardice run that deep in the League offices?

I really wonder. So do player parents.


  1. Do you mean the club would pay for all those fellow travellers's expenses? If the expenses are covered by the player himself or by his family?? Why not?

  2. That's what I am of the understanding, and apparently, the NHL is, also. I don't know if they would say the same thing if the players paid the expenses of the parents. Of course, you know how parents are. Some of them would just say, "That's all right. I'll stay home, you give that money to the children instead."

    Or something like that...

    The whole thing is absolutely ludicrous, which means probably someone with a Southeast division team probably started it. Or, maybe Tom Hicks, when he found out the Stars' dads wanted to go to Southern California...