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Getting to Know the CBA - Episode 17: Articles 24 & 25 - International Hockey, Endorsements, Sponsorships, Licensing

Stevie Roxelle - @stevieroxelle - Biscuit Fox

Editor's Note - Now that the season has started, these will be a little more sporadic. I'm going to try to do one per week still, but they'll work around the Wings' schedule

Last time out, we looked at insurance coverages. In this episode, we'll cover two articles, as they're relatively short.

You can find the entire CBA here (PDF)

Article 24: International Hockey

As with most sections which don't concretely lay out the way things will always work in the future, this article starts us out with the formation of a committee which decides the specifics. In this one, It's the NHL/NHLPA International Committee to plan and carry out international games/events, whether exhibition or regular season. The number of members isn't set, but it does have to be equal (although a quorum only needs one rep from each side).

The CBA also specifically lays out that all clubs will be required (upon request) to participate in one such international event.

Revenue for these international events net of expenses and direct costs is included in HRR when it comes to settling the wealth distribution of the NHL. Player per-diem is set at $110 per day with the same method of changing that figure year-to-year as is in Article 19. If revenues aren't high enough to defray costs, the NHL and NHLPA share in those losses equally. International games work the same as regular games as far as rights and responsibilities under a player's SPC and he can't be given a bonus for playing an international game, although he can earn money approved by the committee for a "project or initiative." If a player joins a national team or other non-NHL team to play against an NHL squad, he's still subject to league discipline for his actions in such a game.

Players loaned to the minors while in Europe can be kept with the club (off their roster) or can be sent back to North America via business-class airfare. He still gets all the Article 23 benefits due to him while he's being held on loan by a team in Europe. If he's hurt while in this situation, he'll be treated as though he was injured while on the team's roster.

The NHL and NHLPA agree to continue to work together to "jointly create and exploit other international projects and initiatives involving NHLPA players" outside of NHL-specific events as previously described (the article lists things like the World Cup of Hockey and the Olympics as examples here). These non-NHL international events aren't included in HRR though. Revenues here (net of expenses of course) are split evenly between the NHL and NHLPA.

The rest of the article discusses the IIHF World Championships specifically. A player may participate in the tournament under the following conditions.

  • The Player's club either missed the playoffs or was eliminated early.
  • Nobody from the Player's national team is allowed to ask about his level of interest in participating in the World Championships until after his NHL team is eliminated and that such request has to happen at the same time that the team's GM is notified of the request.
  • Either the IIHF or the National Team in question agrees to provide insurance to cover the remaining value of the player's SPC.
  • Either the IIHF or the National Team in question agrees to provide such additional insurance to cover the Player's loss of earnings capacity as the Player may require.

The third and fourth points are very important because there's a huge piece in this article which states that games played in the IIHF World Championships count as "hockey-related activity" pursuant to his SPC and if he's injured during that tournament, his team will be required to treat it as though his injury happened in an NHL game.

Article 25: Endorsements; Sponsorships; Licensing

Players are forbidden by the CBA from being involved in any endorsement or sponsorship of non-malt-based alcoholic beverages (anything but beer, basically) and/or tobacco products. In an endorsement deal, the player can say which team he plays for without having to get permission, but can't use the club insignia without consent.

Essentially, the way the rights break down here are that the player's likeness, name, or personality belongs to him (and/or the NHLPA) while the rights to all team/league insignia stays with the NHL. Teams can use game-action images or footage, as long as it's not specifically focused on an individual without his permission. Both sides agree that they've previously done things this way and will continue to do so without suing one another provided that the lines involving player personality rights and league/club logos aren't crossed. If there's a question, it will be referred to the Chief Legal Officer of the NHL and the Senior Director, Business Affairs and Licensing of the NHLPA.

Both sides also specifically strive to work together to create agreements by which player names/likenesses can be combined with league-owned trademarks for trading cards. Both sides work on their own royalties for how those are paid for such practices. Neither side can license any trading cards solely unless the other specifically declines to participate (one side flooding the market with knock-off cards hurts everyone, basically).

Finally, both sides have to share their license agreements and any amendments.

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Next time up, we'll get to Article 26, which is about non-compliance and the punishments for such insolence. In other words, it's actual fun stuff. Stay tuned.