There’s an old saying in baseball that if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. Don’t know if that applies here, but the Vancouver Canucks got caught cheating, and it’ll cost them.
The NHL handed the Canucks a $50,000 fine for violating offseason training rules, according to reports from Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff and Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK.
Speaking to the media via Zoom after yesterday’s draft lottery, Canucks GM Patrik Allvin tried to explain what happened.
“I was surprised by it,” Allvin said, adding that it was “voluntary.”
“We had several players that were in discussions for the World Championship. We had players going through the rehab, sticking around here in Vancouver. We had some young players that couldn’t go down to Abbotsford that asked for extra help. We wanted to help the players. So, very surprised by the fine.”
Dhaliwal reported that Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who are employed by the Canucks in player development, were part of on-ice sessions with up to six players, including Dakota Joshua and Jack Studnicka.
That’s a clear violation of the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, given that the on-ice sessions happened after the conclusion of the Canucks’ season — regardless if the sessions for voluntary.
Teams are allowed to keep their facilities open during the offseason for both on-ice and off-ice training by players. But those sessions must be initiated by the players, and coaches or other hockey operations personnel can’t be involved.
“’Player-only’ sessions on the ice, including ‘Captain’s Skates’ and group Player skates are also permissible,” reads the NHL/NHLPA memorandum of understanding.
“Clubs are not permitted to have Club Coaching or Hockey Operations personnel (e.g., coaches, skating instructors, other Club employees, contracted service providers, etc.) participate in any on-ice sessions with Players. Clubs are not permitted to request or encourage Players to come to the Club’s home city during the off-season to utilize the Club’s arena/training/practice facility(ies) and/or to train with Club Coaching or Hockey Operations personnel.”
The $50,000 penalty the Canucks received was the minimum fine for this type of violation. Future violations could be much worse, including the “potential forfeiture” of draft picks.
While Allvin confirmed that the Canucks do have people responsible for interpreting the CBA correctly, he took ownership of the fine.
“At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility,” Allvin said.
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