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NHL upholds Canucks’ $50k fine despite changing rule about off-season training sessions

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
8 months ago
As you may recall, the NHL fined the Vancouver Canucks a cool $50,000 last month for holding an on-ice training session after the season ended involving a handful of players and the Sedin twins.
The story went like this: Jack Studnicka and Dakota Joshua, among others, took part in a series of extra skates with the Sedins — both of whom are employed by the Canucks — in Vancouver between April 17 and 23.
By the letter of the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NHLPA, these practices were illegal. Here’s the text of NHL rule 15.11, lifted from the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding ratified by both the league and its players:
Prohibited Off-Season Activities. 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.
This rule is in place to prevent teams from requiring players to attend skills sessions during their summer break. The NHLPA collectively bargained for this regulation and generally doesn’t take CBA violations lightly.
Well, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Thursday, the NHL and NHLPA have now taken some steps to slightly ease that restriction on a trial basis.
According to Friedman, players will now be able to request access to one skills coach for an on-ice session in the summer. The player must request this through the NHLPA, which will then reach out to both the team and the league.
It remains to be seen whether the league and the players will ultimately extend this trial agreement beyond this summer. What apparently isn’t up for interpretation is the punitive action the NHL took against the Canucks in May.
Friedman also reported on Thursday that the league has elected not to rescind the $50,000 fine it imposed upon the Canucks for violating the rule that, as of now, has been altered.
At least the fine money doesn’t count against the salary cap. The Canucks are currently projected to be above an estimated $83.5 million upper limit next season with an 18-man roster, and that doesn’t factor in a new deal for Ethan Bear.

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