Money Players: How Hockey's Greatest Stars Beat the NHL at Its Own Game
Incredibly, the legacy of one-time hockey czar Alan Eagleson still poisons professional hockey. The generation of players that “the Eagle” systematically abused, misled, and defrauded continues to take its revenge on his successors. When a former Boston player, Mike Gillis, suffered a career-ending injury, Eagleson, his agent, bilked him out of some $40,000 in insurance money. Gillis sued and won. What Gillis learned from the episode is that players need hard-nosed and honest representation and that no quarter needs to be given in encounters with the good old boys who run the game.
Gillis is an agent now – one of the best. The players he and other trained agents represent routinely get contracts worth tens of millions of dollars. Over the past ten years, the NHL’s payroll has shot up from nearly $200 million to more than $1 billion. Around 350 players make more than a million dollars per annum. And the league’s owners are crying the blues.
But these owners often buy up sports teams for reasons of ego and for kicks. And the general managers often are former players who like to shoot the breeze with old friends and do deals on the strength of a handshake. Neither is a match for the new breed of agent or for the players’ association president Bob Goodenow. Something’s got to give. Bruce Dowbiggin’s eye-opening report takes readers from the locker rooms to the board rooms. His inside view makes sense of the seemingly crazy labour conflict that is about to batter the NHL.
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