NHL/IIHF Agreement to Expire; Potential Disaster Looms

Lisa BoychukSenior Analyst IJune 1, 2008

The current contract between the National Hockey League and the International Ice Hockey Federation is due to expire on June 15.


The two tried to make a one-year contract extension to allow more time for a new agreement, but the Czech Republic refused.


It appears that the NHL's efforts to bring interest from European superstars and their fans, by starting the past two seasons at various locations of the country, has failed. It may make the NHL reconsider repeating such events for the coming season.


The Czech Republic may not realize the potential disaster they have caused, or maybe they just don't care.


Whatever the real reason may be, this has sent a trickle of fear through the spines of the NHL and supporting IIHF countries.


Remember that at one time, Russia was a part of this trade agreement. We have all seen what happens without them allowing their top prized players to sign with an NHL club. The most memorable situation in recent years was, of course, Evgeni Malkin.


Surely, without this agreement there will be a continuing flow of European players into the NHL, but it will be a lot more tedious and difficult.


Following June 15 it will be at the discretion of the team of whether or not the requested player can sign on with an NHL franchise.


It would not be a big surprise to see the players who plan to advance to the NHL sign smaller contracts so it's easier to make the transition.


Hockey may be Canada's game, but as nice as it would be to see a league even more full of Canadians (who are we kidding), this game deserves to make the whole world proud.


Whether they come to a new agreement or not by the start of the 2008-09 season, and with or without the Czech Republic, things may turn out more unpredictable than ever.