Tuesday, August 21, 2012

F Konstantin Pushkarev (Calgary, 2004-05) was released by Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL) by mutual agreement. He had signed a two-year contract with Spartak in June. Last season, Pushkarev had one goal and two assists in 20 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL) and five goals and two assists in six games on loan assignment to Barys-2 Astana (Kazakhstan, Premier League).
A players’ association in junior hockey? That has been in the works for 14 months? That no one involved in junior hockey — from players to agents to front-office types — seems to know anything about?
Sorry . . . but there aren’t any secrets in the hockey world, which often turns out to me smaller than most neighbourhoods. On to pof that, I’m from Missouri. Someone is going to have to show me something, especially when it comes to asking for a $1.50 surcharge on every ticket sold (yes, and pigs can fly) and getting 60 per cent of Canadian Hockey League players to sign on the dotted line (have you ever tried herding cats?).
Anyway . . . I am the first person to say that Hockey Canada and some major junior operators have made, and continue to make, a whack of cash in a business in which the labour costs are minimal.
(Hmm! Perhaps the CHLPA, if that’s what it’s called, can organize these players through the Screen Actors Guild. After all, the players are more entertainers than they are a labour force.)
But it’s got to be nigh impossible to organize an association that will include players who aren’t yet 15 years of age when a season begins and some who will be 21 when the season ends.
Anyway . . . some of the big boys are paying attention.
The Globe and Mail has a story right here.
The Toronto Star has a story right here.
And thanks to Yahoo! Sports for compiling a few comments off Twitter right here.
If you want more on this subject, this piece right here showed up on the Internet on Friday night, via The Junior Hockey News (www.thejuniorhockeynews.com).
Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner filed this story right here on Sunday night.
I have heard from someone with some knowledge of labor laws in Washington state, which is home to four WHL teams.
Let’s pretend for a moment that this CHLPA comes to fruition and that players are labelled as employees.
“In Washington state,” notes the source, “there are laws regulating the employment of minors. If you are 16 or 17, you can work no more than four hours in a day (eight on a Friday, Saturday, or
Sunday), no more than 20 hours in a week, and no more than six days a week during school weeks. You cannot start work before 7 a.m., and you cannot work after 10 p.m. (midnight on Friday or Saturday). If it's not a school week, then you can work eight hours a day, 48 hours in a week, start at 5 a.m. and end at midnight.
“I can see the State of Washington saying that travel time is work time. So now teams would have to travel the day before a game and the day after.”
And what about on game nights?
“Teams require players to arrive at the rink two hours before game time. So that means that in weeknight games, anyone under 18 would have to pack it in after the second period.
“Now try to schedule games. . . . If you are 15, then the restrictions are more severe: three hours a day, 16 hours a week, and you have to quit by 7 p.m. Every day.”
Oh, and the players would have to go by their actual ages, not hockey ages.
“A team would not be able to play a ‘late birthday’ 16 until after he actually turned 16. Plus there would be no callups of 15s until they actually turned 16.”
And what of paying the players?
“You would also become liable under state law to pay minimum wage ($9.04 an hour in Washington right now), provide a meal break, rest breaks — ‘They must be allowed a rest period no later than the end of the third hour of the shift.’ — AND you have to get a State Work Permit and the parents and school must sign off on the work permit, before the minor begins employment.”
The rules governing teen workers in the State of Washington are right here.
The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Keoni Texeira, who was the 26th overall selection in the 2012 bantam draft. He was Portland’s first pick in that draft. A native of Fontana, Calif., Texeira had 82 points, including 35 goals, in 67 games with the L.A. Selects of the Tier 1 Elite Major Bantam AAA league. He is expected to play this season with the L.A. Jr. Kings U16 AAA team.
The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers announced Monday that they have signed Greg Fraser, 20, who played the last four seasons with the Prince George Cougars, who gave him his release last week. Fraser, who is from Nanaimo, spent four seasons with the Cougars. He also played two games with the Clippers in 2007-08. . . . Fraser told the Cougars he wanted to get working on his education and Vancouver Island U has a campus in Nanaimo.
The ECHL’s Colorado Eagles need goaltending, after former WHLer Damien Ketlo chose to go to school (U of Lethbridge) and Andrew Penner retired. According to the Loveland, Colo., Reporter-Herald, the Eagles have signed two goaltenders, one of whom is Adam Brown, who played the last four seasons with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. They also signed Aaron Dell, who is a product of the U of North Dakota program. . . . Colorado head coach Chris Stewart once did a stint behind the bench with the Prince Albert Raiders.
Mike McBain, a defenceman who played four seasons (1993-97) with the Red Deer Rebels, is, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “accused of molesting his stepdaughter over a four-year period, beginning when the girl was 12 in 2008, and faces nine felony charges.” . . . The Review-Journal’s story is right here.
Matt Crossman of Sporting News has a piece right here that details some of the problems being encountered by former NFL players.
Crossman writes: “(Greg) Koch is one of 125 former NFL players who took part in a Sporting News survey about the impact of concussions. The results suggest far more players suffered far more concussions than previously has been reported. The consequences are far-reaching for the players and their families.
“Of the 125 players, 115 reported suffering at least one concussion. Of those 115, 76 listed at least one mental-health symptom that could be related to their head injuries, though many said they could not definitively tie their problems to concussions.”
Be forewarned; this is not a pretty story.
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