CHLPA WANTS BETTER EDUCATION

Jason Gregor
September 28 2012 07:02AM

With the NHL and NHLPA at odds again for the 2nd time in eight years many hockey people and fans have expressed their concern over the new CHLPA. Who is the CHLPA? What are their plans? The CHLPA has taken a beating for the past month. Some of the backlash was deserved due to their inexperience at PR, but most of it was unwarranted and came from the mouths of people who fear change.

I read a few stories claiming the CHLPA was looking for massive increases in CHL player's weekly salaries. Understandably that didn't sit well with most fans and people connected to CHL teams. Last weekend I ran into the Executive Director of the CHLPA, Georges Laraque at the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer event. I asked him about the CHLPA and he said that today (last Saturday) was about charity, but he agreed to come on my show on Tuesday to discuss the CHLPA.

JG: When and why did you get involved?

GL: This started 14 months ago in February of 2011. This started when some current players playing in the CHL contacted some lawyers and said they wanted to create the CHLPA.

Before I was contacted, they had contacted other people and nobody wanted to do it. Whether it was because it was a hard cause, maybe they didn’t want to face criticism, whatever it was people didn’t want to help them out. Some people that were asked, asked for money, they asked to be paid, but there’s no money right now. Because everyone right now helping those kids [is] doing it for free because there is no money and we’re doing it for the cause. We believe in the cause and we’re we want to help those kids.

 And now 14 months later they came to me at the end of August and asked me if I could work with them and be their executive director. I had to think about it because as you know I was working for a TV station in Montreal that owned a junior team. And I knew that by making that decision I would probably lose my job, which was a really good job. But at the end of the day, what is more important? Sometimes in life you have to make decisions and you’ve got to put the money aside [in place of] what’s in your heart, what’s more important? And I thought that fighting for those kid’s rights to have their own union, especially when they talk about education, it was the right thing to do.

I was let go from the job that I was doing on TV. And now, with a lot of great people around me we are working to make this union possible for all of the kids playing in the CHL.

JG: Some people think the CHLPA is about getting more money for players. Right now they average around $50/week depending on the contract. What’s the main premise, what are you looking for?

GL: I’ve heard a lot of the things that people are saying, and most of it is inaccurate. We’re all working for the players, and everything that we say and that I say comes from the players that are on the board.

They’re talking about education. No kid came to me, or came to anyone and said that they want to be paid $1000/week. The $50/week is already a joke compared to the money that the CHL is making but they talk about education. That’s all they want, they want a better education plan because in all three leagues there is an expiry date in terms of education of a year to 18 months.

 So think about it, a guy that plays junior hockey his entire career and devotes all of his time to it only makes $50/week. After the junior career is over, they want to push you to the NHL so they might play in the East Coast or the American Hockey League for a year or two and when they come back and realize that it’s not working out and they want to go to school or university, but you can’t because the expiry date is done. The league takes that money and puts it back in their pocket and says “bye bye, thank you for your service” to the players that helped the CHL generate millions of dollars every year.

Those players have a right to an education. They want to create a union to make sure that this (education) will be a main focus. We are talking about 1300 kids in which about 98% of them won’t play in the NHL; I think it’s reasonable for them to at least fight for their education.

Just for an example to throw, look for the Quebec Major League website they talk about how the 18 teams in the Quebec League have spent $400,000 (on education) which is less than the $25,000/team. If you look in the Western League all of the numbers are shown there, the Western Hockey League has spent over $600,000 between 22 teams which is less than $30,000/team.

In the Quebec League there are over 45 million tickets sold and in the Western League there are over 50 million tickets sold. Then if you look at the stick budget, which is more than $50,000/yr how does that make sense? We spend more money on sticks than education.

Most people complaining are probably protected by a union whether you’re a police officer, a teacher, lawyers, ex-NHL professionals they’re protected from the NHLPA. It makes me sick to see ex-players who are owners or coaches in the CHL and made a million in the NHL because of the NHLPA, but now they are bashing the CHLPA when kids talk about education. The CHLPA is not going to negotiate any contract for the kids. We’re not talking about negotiating money or anything. All we are talking about is education.

JG: There are a few kids who say they don’t know much about the CHLPA. Has the CHLPA spoken to representatives from every team about your cause?

GL: I’m really glad that you asked me that question. I’m glad that everyone who is listening to the top rated sports show in Edmonton and Alberta can hear the answer. I was hired at the end of August, and since then for probably every half hour I’ve talked to a player. I’ve talked to hundreds of hockey players. What they say to the media is exactly what we’re telling them to say because all of those kids are suffering intimidation from coaches and from owners of some teams.

We have letters, we have documentation, and we have clips with video where they threaten players if they join the union they’re going to cut their stick allocation or other things. When we try to do a worldwide campaign about intimidation in schools, they should know that owners and coaches are doing it right now to their own product, to junior players in all three leagues.

What do you think that a player is going to say when he is asked about the CHLPA?  They can’t say anything because they are going to get crucified. Look how I get criticized Jason and I’m working for free right now for those guys to fight for their rights. Imagine if it was them who said ‘I’m actually on a committee board, I started this.’ What would happen to that kid, could you imagine? He’d get cut, he’d get sent home. We are here so they don’t have to expose themselves.

But that’s not important, what is important is the message, what they want. So instead of people criticizing and trying to find loopholes, why don’t they just realize that we’re doing this for the kids, the kids are doing it for them.

Do you know how many parents are sending emails and letters because they are happy that someone is looking out for the interests of their kids? When the kids are leaving home to go play junior hockey, they (parents) feel much better that there is a chance that they (kids) are going to have a better education if they’re career in hockey doesn’t work out.

It’s never easy to start a union, but it has to start somehow and somewhere. Every kid that I’ve talked to is in favour of it but if you ask them, they can’t say that they are because they’re going to get caught.  At the end of the day, this is going to work, this is for them. We’re fighting for them and we’re going to do everything that we can to get their rights protected so that they can get a better education.

JG: I’ve read that one of the CHLPA goals is to find a way for players who played in the CHL could somehow go to the NCAA. That’s never happened, how is that going to be possible?

GL: First of all, the $50/week and I don’t know why the CHL calls it salary because I would call it contamination money, because that contamination money is the reason why they can’t go to the NCAA.

By having he teams give the money to the CHLPA, and then we give it to the players as stipends that might be way that it looks like an expense rather than salary. Because $50/week it wouldn’t even be considered an expense Jason. $50/week an expense, that’s like $7/day. Are you kidding me?

You could rent a movie, have popcorn and that’s it. This is ridiculous! So really we have ways to make it so that it won’t come out as a salary, and then the players won’t lose their eligibility. So everyone could try out for junior hockey, they don’t have to make the decision after midget AAA whether they are going to US college or play in the CHL. Now they can all try in the CHL and it doesn’t work, they go to a US college.

This is the type of stuff that your union does for players. You work and find ways to improve the situation of every player so that they can have a better future. Right now the CHL is making a lot of money and the interest is not for the players because look at the education plan, it’s a joke. Hockey Canada has given $6 million to the CHL which is $2 million per league and they’ve only spent $400,000-$600,000. There’s so much money left that goes directly into the team’s pocket.

So really, if they’re not looking in the interest of the kids for their education do you think that they are going to look for other interests like keeping their eligibility? We want to find partnerships that are going to help all of the guys.

I’m surprised by the negative reaction we’ve received just because they want to create a union to make sure that this doesn’t keep happening.

JG: Have you actually spoken to anyone at the NCAA about them allowing CHL players to play in the NCAA?

 GL: We’re in talks with them. We have already started talking about the process and they said they would be open to talk with us to see if we could find ways to make it work. Obviously it is up to them and would need to be to their liking. We already started talking about what we do and that (NCAA allowing CHL players) would only work with a union because of the NCAA structure. The players would get a stipend, similar to a per diem from the union. We would work in a partnership with the NCAA to make it work so then it won’t be a problem in the future.

 And I don’t know why this (creating a union) hasn’t been done before. This should have been done a long time ago because education should be much more important than hockey, because that is the only thing guaranteed for all of those kids, not hockey, because as much as I would love for all of those players to make it in the NHL, there’s only a minimal percentage that will.

So that’s why having this union is right, and some people have to fight for them. Despite some people, and some people in the media, who have a conflict of interest because they cover the CHL and have a special relationship with owners and coaches that are going to say ‘oh I have your back’ and they’re going to bash the CHLPA.  I understand that, but at the end of the day, everyone [that] is working in the organization is doing it for the kids, for their education and for the parents that let their kids go live with the billets. We are doing it for the kids that have no options after their junior career is done. That’s who we’re doing it for.

And it’s fine for people to criticize whatever they want, but our hearts [and] my mind is at peace for doing what’s right for those kids. They could look at all technicalities Jason, but at the end of the day we’re working for them, working for free, fighting for their rights because right now they are getting abused. They’re being paid under minimum wage for years now which is against the law and we’re not even talking about getting them more money, we’re talking about education and now we’re getting bashed because the kids are saying ‘our education plan is no good, we want a better plan.’

 I don’t understand some people. It’s actually pretty easy to understand. That’s why there are so many people, so many lawyers all across the country that are joining us and helping the cause. Just like all of us and all of the kids on the board, they believe that right now the way that junior players are treated is not fair. They want to fight for their rights because they can and they have the time and all together we are going to make this happen.

JG: Have you contacted any agents? Obviously agents and the PA work closely in the NHL. Have any expressed an interest in helping out?

GL: Yes I have talked to hockey agents and every one that I’ve talked to were behind the CHLPA and were endorsing it, because at the end of the day it makes life easier for the agents. Because any agent [who] tries to sign a player that is under 18, they try to work with the parents. What is the first thing most parents do; they ask the agent for a special education plan for their son. It isn’t just offered up alt the time and so the agent has to fight for that.

Also, if an agent has 15/20 kids playing in junior hockey he has to take care of the problems of 15/20 kids and the agent has to focus on bringing that player to the next level, focus on their hockey career and not their everyday problems.

They know that when there is a union, every time that there is a problem we’re going to deal with it. There’s a 1-800 number and whether the problem is social, hazing, intimidation, alcohol, any type of abuse, we’re going to be a special line assistant, just like what the NHLPA has. And that’s going to help them and make their job much easier. Because today if a player complains to an agent and the agent calls the team, the teams know where that complaint is coming from, and maybe [the player] doesn’t play in the next game or maybe he misses a couple of shifts. When the complaint comes through the union, it’s always confidential so we could deal with these problems much easier and kids wouldn’t be worried about being punished for speaking out.

So that’s why for the agents it’s a no brainer because we’re not negotiating deals, the agents will do that. Keep in mind teams do have special deals with certain players. There are players in the CHL that makes $100-200 grand, Jason. There are some players like that, but we’re not getting involved with that, they can still negotiate special benefits through their agent if they want to. We are focusing on the kids that make $50/week, what options does he have?

Is it fair that the some European player who plays in the league makes $100 or $200 grand while players that are born and live right here in Canada, and play Canada’s favourite sport, make $50/week. Then when their career is over they have no education, they have nothing? We want to work for a package that will be the same for everyone, but will at least make for the kids that won’t be as fortunate, who won’t play in the NHL and won’t have the big signing bonus. Hopefully they will at least have a chance at an education when their hockey career is over.

JG: Have you had any conversations with David Branch, the president of the CHL?

GL: Actually once we tried to contact Mr. Branch, he has declined many times to talk to us for all of the reasons obviously that you know. Publically the owners and everybody have come together and said that they don’t think that there is a purpose for it, they don’t believe in it.

Obviously they don’t care about what the kids want, because this comes from the kids. But you don’t seem to respect kids that are 15-20 years old, they’d rather be controlling them than listening to them. Because at the end of the day how hard would it really be, it’s not like they’re asking for millions, they’re asking for education.

So what we have now is a lot of lawyers working for us and we have a lot of leverage. We have a couple of anti-trust lawsuits that we have ready, and once we are perfectly prepared we’re going to get ready to talk about it. We’re going to use everything we can to make this work and to take some of the profit the league is making and give it back to the players. Obviously this union would not be funded by the players. I’ll say it again it will not be funded by any players.

 I’ve heard some people are saying that the CHLPA will have to take some of the money away from the player and they’ll make less than $50/week. How can you work on an education plan with that money anyway?

No, we’re trying to force the league to give back to these unions from the profit that they make so that we can give back to the players and that’s what we intend to do. Our lawyers knows it’s going to be a big fight, but it’s a fight that has to happen because whether it’s today, tomorrow or in 10 years there is always going to be a union for junior players. Right now we’re strong; we have a lot of people committed to help them out. And we’re going to make this happen right now.

JG: I agree the education package is a good idea. I’ve always thought it’s been misrepresented that the CHL has this awesome package when in fact it does have an expiry date. You haven’t mentioned publicly how long of an expiry date you would like.  CHL players sign three-year entry level contractswith NHL teams.  Do you think the education expiry date should be the same?

GL: Three years would already be better than what it is now, 18 months, so I understand what you’re saying. This would obviously be a step in the right direction, but I’d say more like 4 or 5 years, but anything is better than what they have right now.

After you play junior hockey you’re hungry, you want to make it to the NHL. So some players play in the East Coast and the East Coast is not a bad league. There are great players in the NHL that started in the East Coast so really when you say three years that might not be enough. Let’s say that someone is in the ECHL for one or two years, then they finally make it to the AHL, and you play one or two years there, now that’s four years and you’ve already passed your expiry date.

If it was me, I wouldn’t even put in that expiry date, I’d say like 20 years but I know that that’s being unreasonable. I’m not the one that will be deciding. If you talk to the players, because all that I would do is try to just translate their message and what they want.

We’ll talk to former guys that used to play junior hockey. We’ll see how long they played pro after they played junior hockey and how many years before they went back to school. Maybe take the average of that and that could be the number that’d be more adequate to the players.

I don’t decide anything; however, I just transmit their (players) message to the league. I fight for their rights but all of the messages that I’ve been saying come from them because they can’t talk to the media.

Everything that I’ve been saying to the media, I don’t just wake up in the morning and decide I’m going to say this and this, it comes from the players. I’m the voice of the players right now, saying what they want, this is what we’re fighting for, we all agreed for it. So it’s not my idea, and I want people to know that I didn’t wake up one morning and apply to take this job. I agreed to help them out because other people didn’t want to, because they didn’t believe in the cause.

WRAP UP

Here are my thoughts after speaking with Laraque.

  • I think an agreement with the NCAA will be incredibly difficult. I doubt the NCAA wants to be considered a fall back plan if the pro route doesn't pan out. Also they don't like CHL players playing against "pro" players. It is common for a drafted player to sign his entry level deal, get a signing bonus, and then go back to the CHL. I'm not sure the NCAA will ever change their stance on the latter point.
     
  • The expiry date on education needs to change and if that is the only thing they accomplish then the CHLPA has done their job.
     
  • They should look for a better "gas money" deal. Some kids are billeted 30 to 40 minutes away from the rink, and  I know many parents who have to send money to their kids just so they have enough gas to get to the rink and back. This might fall on the shoulders on an agent, but it needs to be looked at.
     
  • I'm interested to see when and how CHL President David Branch responds to the CHLPA. It doesn't sound like they are going away, and after putting the interview on-line I received seven emails from players in all three leagues stating they, along with their teammates, are on board with the CHLPA. All of them asked for anonymity.
     
  • If their demands are realistic then I could see value in the CHLPA, however, the last thing any hockey fan wants is more bickering over money. As long as the CHLPA stays true to their word and focuses on improved education not massive pay increases, I can see them having a positive impact on CHL players and their families.

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 yawto
September 28 2012, 07:36AM
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With better education maybe some of the people around here could spell fist right.

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#2 Gret99zky
September 28 2012, 07:37AM
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This might be a bad time for the CHLPA to be asking for more $. Maybe wait for the NHLPA to get out of the headlines first.

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#3 EasyOil
September 28 2012, 08:14AM
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Jason: I presume when you spoke with Georges there was no mention of the horrendous job that the CHLPA spokesperson Derek Clarke did with responding to messages from The Pipeline Show?! The whole PR side of things sounded like an absolute joke. Hopefully they get it sorted as I think the ideas that Laraque spoke of with you have a great deal of merit.

It is a little ridiculous that players only have education plans available for 18 months after "retiring" from the CHL - although I think that Georges' - admittedly unreasonable - hope of 20 years availability is equally ridiculous.

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#4 Woodguy
September 28 2012, 08:15AM
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GL: First of all, the $50/week and I don’t know why the CHL calls it salary because I would call it contamination money, because that contamination money is the reason why they can’t go to the NCAA

As Guy Flaming and other have pointed out, this is wrong.

The stipend has nothing to do with why CHL players are barred from playing in NCAA.

The reason is that they play against players who have signed professional contracts.

Its items like this that make a lot of people raise their eyebrows at the CHLPA.

If they get the basics of the NCAA exclusion wrong, what else are they getting wrong?

I've long thought that CHL players are as close as you can come to indentured servitude in Canada.

The amount of revenue they generate compared to what they get is abysmal.

Change is needed and I really like that the CHLPA is focusing on making sure that ex-CHL players have access to the education funds that are promised to them.

The way the CHLPA has presented itself (refusing interviews, not returning standard emails from the media), and basic mistakes (like the NCAA thing) in its platform indicates that these guys really don't know what they are doing.

If I'm trying to start any organization, I take every interview and venue available to discuss my platform and goals. The CHLPA however remains secretive.

Given that everyone in the CHLPA is working for free (according to GL), maybe we need to lower our expectations about their professionalism, but its not a great start.

People are not taking them seriously because of stuff like this and something like a CHLPA is too important to screw up.

Good for them for getting things started, I hope some labour lawyer with sympathies to what they are trying to do jumps in and helps them out.

They need it.

Right now they seem like a group of guys who have bitten off far more than they can chew.

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#5 j
September 28 2012, 08:44AM
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@Woodguy

The NCAA considers the CHL a professional league. I suspect the reason is twofold - players are paid to play (as Georges speaks to) and some have received signing bonuses from the NHL (as Woodguy points out). With respect to the latter, it seems incredible to me that there the NCAA has made rules for the 'exceptions'. Very few CHLs would fall into that category (i.e. have an NHL signing bonus in hand). There must be more to it.

As per http://www.playyourgame.com/ncaarules.html

Under NCAA rules you are considered to be a professional if any of the following are true:

You are paid or will be paid for playing in a game. You have a contract, written or verbal, with any professional sports organization or agency. You have your name placed on a draft list after enrolling (i.e. you opt into the draft). You use your hockey ability or athleticism for pay in any form. You play on a professional hockey team. You play on an amateur hockey team and receive a salary or incentive payment above your needed equipment and traveling expenses.

With regards to these stated rules, it is important to know what you can do. Without forfeiting your eligibility, you are allowed to do the following: Try out for any professional team, without playing against outside competition, at your own expense. You can, however, receive money for your expenses for a period no longer than 48 hours. As well, this reimbursement may happen only once per team. It is important to note, that these rules do apply to Major Junior hockey. The teams of the CHL are considered to be professional by the NCAA.

As well, you may also work at a hockey school. Payment for teaching hockey is not in violation of NCAA regulations.

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#6 Woodguy
September 28 2012, 08:52AM
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@j

Good stuff J.

Thanks for that.

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#7 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 28 2012, 09:01AM
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From what I gather this CHLPA start up has been a gong show so far, I really don't see Laraque helping the cause either.

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#8 Blue Giraffe
September 28 2012, 09:12AM
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"There are players in the CHL that makes $100-200 grand, Jason. "

Seriously??

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#11 Digger
September 28 2012, 11:16AM
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I'm sorry, but I can't help looking at a Laraque-led CHLPA and not equate it to when the WHA was supposed to rise from the ashes during the 04/05 lockout, and even had some press releases and interviews from reps of that failed movement stating that Bobby Hull was their commissioner.

Maybe it's not fair to say, but IMO if this "movement" really was serious at achieving their goals they would've hired someone other than Laraque to be their public face. It just smacks of cheap gimmickry.

Whatever happened to the WHA revival, anyway?

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#13 Puckbag
September 28 2012, 12:37PM
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"In the Quebec League there are over 45 million tickets sold and in the Western League there are over 50 million tickets sold."

Lets take the WHL for example, 22 teams and a 72 game regular season equates to 1584 games played. That means WHL teams are averaging 31,565 in attendance. I didn't realize all the games were played in football stadiums....

I respect all the hard work Georges does in the community, but its hard to take him seriously when facts like this are embellished. A person in his position should be stating clear and concise facts.

In addition to the 18 months expiry date, there was an interesting comment on the Pipeline show. Players have a year and a half to figure out the professional route, which in that time the players are grown adults and should be able to make up their own minds in regards to what direction they want to take.

In my opinion, expanding the expiry date wouldn't be a bad thing. However, I do feel that if a player is good enough to make the NHL at some point in their lives, it doesn't matter what league they are in, they WILL get noticed.

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#14 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 28 2012, 01:13PM
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So how much is enough? How many teams is this going to hurt? I heard Lethbridge lost 400k how exactly can they afford to give more back to their players when they are in a complete mess?

I can really see David Branch just saying you want union fine have one, we'll get replacement players.

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#15 EHH Team
September 28 2012, 02:02PM
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The CHA truly does need to improve the education program ...the 12 to 18 month decision period clearly is too short.

If teams like Lethbridge are in such a financial mess, perhaps the solution is to have the CHA manage the education program centrally. If it is true that the CHA passes $6 Million to teams each year, presumably largely to help support the education program, then perhaps the solution is to centrally administrate the program using most of these funds. Centralized administration should help to achieve efficiencies and enable more students to be supported.

The $50 monthly stipend to players has been around as long as I can remember. It is time for a modest increase there too.

Even though he might be tilting at windmills, I compliment Georges Laraque for taking an interest and I wish him success.

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#16 The Goalie 1976
September 28 2012, 03:12PM
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This is why I can't stand GL. Obviously he is a nice guy with his heart in the right place, but it seems like he just picks things to be involved with that make him look a fool. This article shows he doesn't really know what he's talking about. And that whole speaking out against fighting right when it was convenient to self promote his book was sickening. If I hear 1 more Stauffer show 'pumping his tires' I'm gonna puke.

I appreciate that he's a good guy trying to make a difference on this issue, but I think they would have been better of with another ex NHL player donating their time. It's really hard to take GL seriously.

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#17 Digger
September 28 2012, 07:11PM
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@Jason Gregor

In terms of them being fledgling organizations bent on challenging the established order of things, yes there is a parallel.

Thanks for the clarification about Laraque volunteering his time vs. being hired for the job, I honestly wasn't sure and just assumed that a lofty title like 'Executive Director' would imply it was a job with financial enumeration.

As it is, I still don't think having Laraque as their public face will lend them much credibility.

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#18 vince
September 28 2012, 08:26PM
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If the NCAA thinks the CHL is a pro league (because players who have taken NHL cash are still playing in the CHL), and anyone who has played in a pro league is ineligible from the NCAA, then that should eliminate everyone who has ever played CHL hockey from ever playing NCAA. If that is the case, then I understand why the NCAA will not allow any ex-CHL player into their league and suspect that won't change.

If all ex-CHL players are ineligible for NCAA play, and still want to go to a US school, but on the CHL's nickel, then I doubt the CHL will ever agree to bear the ever rising cost of US tuition for every CHL player that doesn't make the NHL.

If the CHL player gets to go to college for free because they played junior hockey in high school, I don't really see why the CHL should be liable for that kind of bill, it sounds like the kids want to get paid, but paid in the form of a future four year ride to a US school.

If the kids from the CHL are eligible for US college programs, are there not scholarships out there currently? If the players from the CHL can and do go play NCAA, I don't really see why the CHL should have to pay for tuition, and I don't understand how the education fund currently works.

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#19 EHH Team
September 28 2012, 10:50PM
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@vince

My understanding is that the education program funds ex-CHL players to attend Canadian universities and colleges

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#20 Slayer
October 03 2012, 11:13AM
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What a crock!

In addition to the numerous flat out lies that Laraque has already been caught in, there is little need to re-evaluate an Education program that is a GIFT, not an entitlement.

I played three years of CHL hockey in the 90's, long before the league offered these education packages. When I finished in the league, I had to cover my own schooling, just like 99% of the population!

I was glad to do so, and I wouldn't trade my time in the CHL for anything. Does Laraque and co. truly believe they are blazing new ground? Every other year some clowns come up with the idea of Unionizing, until hit with the reality that CHL players are NOT employees, and only employees can unionize!!

18 months is MORE than enough. If someone goes off and signs a pro contract in another league, and plays longer than 18 months, I think they've earned enough money to pay for their own schooling, like everyone else has to.

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