Stop Calling the NHL Players “Staff”

Mark Spector, whom I like and respect, tweeted to Alann Walsh, “there wouldn’t BE work for a lot of folks if the staff took home 57% of the revenue, Allan.”

This is a pervasive thought among some, generally those who are the owners’ proponents in the NHL CBA negotiations…which I don’t believe Mark is.

The NHL players are not “staff”. They are the company. They are the franchise. They are who the fans come to see.

If you own a company that sells widgets, the public at large does not come to watch your staff work. The public does not directly pay money for your staff’s performance and certainly does not give a shit whether or not your staff’s work product is up to par so long as they get their widget at a reasonable price and it does what they want it to do. In a traditional industry, the buck stops with you – you hire and fire people as you wish to make a better widget but it’s the widget, your brainchild, your creation, your product, that matters and nothing else to your bottom line.

Unlike other traditional industries, the sports franchises offer their “staff”, as Mark Spector calls them, as the widget. Like any entertainment industry, be it film or sports, the performers are the show and their performance, within their innate skill set and work ethic, is the only reason the industry exists. Within a free market system, the players would go wherever the hell they wished but the NHL, like any other sports franchise, is not a free market system. It is bound by man-made regulations, contracts that bind players to a team but not necessarily the owners to the player. The players are, in many respects, paid slaves although very well paid in many instances. They can be bought, sold or discarded. Only after their contract term expires are they emancipated, until of course they voluntary seek out their next slave contract.

Okay, so my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek but I think you get the point.

The players are not staff anymore than Surly is mine…although I sometimes wish he was so I could yell at him for no reason.



Categories: Non-L.A. Kings News Offerings

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3 replies

  1. Asslicks for the NHL constantly argue that hockey is like any other industry. But in fact the owners are closer to theatrical impresarios than they are to the Fords or the Iacoccas or the like.

    If they could hire some putz off the street to do the same job they get from Malkin or Stamkos you know they’d do it. But that’s not how it works.

    • Yea for Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale!

      Yea for Curt Flood!

      Boo for the Owners and Bettman

      How about all fans create a IPO and sign all the players, give them stock too and send the owners to Russia to buy teams there!

  2. … This is truth, Bobby. And yet, so many fail to understand it.

    It’s a shame that once again, it’s come to this. I’m sorry, guys.

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