GETTING TO KNOW RICHARD BLOCH, THE KOVALCHUK ARBITRATOR

It is now widely believed that the arbitrator for the NHLPA v. NHL grievance regarding the Ilya Kovalchuk 17 year, $102 million dollar contract and whether its terms violate the CBA will be Richard Bloch. Bloch is a graduate of Dartmouth and received a Masters in Business and a Law Degree from the University of Michigan. He has been arbitrating sports related matters for well over 20 years.

He may be best known for upholding the suspension of Terrell Owens (that’s football for those who are wondering what NHL team Owens may have played for).  Thereafter, the NFLPA executive director, Gene Upshaw said emphatically that he would have Bloch removed from the process. He stated, “when an arbitrator decides to (mis)interpret and add on to the collective bargaining agreement, he can’t be an arbitrator any more.”

Bloch has been involved in many NHL arbitrators. To pick a few, he gave Scott Gomez (when he was a Devil) a $5 million dollar award for the 2006-2007 season. That left New Jersey scrambling to figure out how to sign him with the cap issues (sound familiar?) and we all know what happened then. He awarded Ray Bourque $2.25 million (with which Bourque was very disappointed) for the 1993-1994 season. That award made Bourque the highest paid defenseman for that coming season. He ruled that the Rangers had to pay Bobby Holik and Jed Ortmeyer their respective signing bonuses the team withheld during and after the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

His decisions do not give a clear indication of any bias. One I suppose can read into the Owens decision. LAKingsnews is still digging to see what else we can find about Bloch and his past NHL decisions. If we find anything useful that may show a pattern, we will update this article.

As a side note, do not be surprised if members of our Kings are asked to testify. They are after all witnesses to the negotiations that took place and those negotiations may not be confidential. This may be the topic of another article.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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7 replies

  1. That’s great work Bobby! Thanks for providing an insight to the guy. I agree that you can’t seem to see a real bias one way or the other there, particularly in the NHL decisions that he handed down. You would expect Gene Upshaw to say what he said about him after the guy upholds a suspension, that’s just what your union rep is supposed to say. I’m guessing that there won’t be an announced decision before Wednesday, if this guy complies to the 48 hours.

  2. This is a great historical writeup on Bloch. I never knew he dealt back that far in NHL history or even with other NJ Devils.

    Seems to be middle of the road so we shall see.

    Thanks for the research and details Bob.

  3. Actually if you read the transcript of Bloch’s ruling on the T.O. matter: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2234819 it sounds like Bloch is very fair and balanced. He seems to look at the spitit of the NFL CBA rather than a dogmatic interpretation of the CBA. This may be important for Kovalchuk vs. the NHL.

    Separate issue, but if you read this, Terrell Owens sounds like a consummate asshole. Upshaw’s position is totally untenable and he knows it.

    It seems silly, but it is very conceivable that Bloch rules in favor of the NHL and everything is back to July 1st. Is it foolish to hope that Kovalchuk could still be a King? Or should I be kicked in the teeth for still having hope?

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