Another interview with Tretiak. A decision will be made one way or another on the transfer agreement on Friday. It looks good to me. I was unsure about whether Russian Labor Law applied to hockey players but it seems that it does, so it seems that the Russian clubs have no leverage. Perhaps that is why Malkin said a few weeks ago that it was "100%" that he was coming over this year. Playoffs baby!!
By Elena Vaitsekhovskaya (Sport-Express: June 8, 2006)
Translated by Alexei Belousenko & Ruslan Salikhov of Russian Hockey Digest
Yesterday, FHR president Vladislav Tretiak arrived in Moscow after his visit to North America.
V. Tretiak: I met with the NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, he received me very well during my stay; even though, he highlighted that normally NHL doesn’t meet with national hockey federations’ representatives. Bettman said that they made for exception for Russia because Russia is not just a country, but sports empire with long-term hockey traditions. Among the topics discussed there was, for example, a cooperation between the national teams and as well as clubs - revival of series between Russia and team Canada. From Bettman’s point of view, these days it is hard to organize the games between the national teams, but he proposed to organize joined training camp of several teams from both leagues whether in Russia or America, so that teams could play against each other.
Besides, the main discussion was about the agreement that NHL signed with IIHF, and IIHF signed with European hockey federations. As well known, Russia didn’t sign this agreement. The point of the agreement is that NHL pays certain amount of money for each player, and the amount is always the same, regardless which player it is. Of course, we were disappointed with it, that’s why former president Steblin refused to sign the agreement. We are trying to defend our position on it: if NHL wants to sign players who have active contracts in Russia, they have to deal directly with clubs of these players. NHL defends the point that the agreement is already signed with IIHF, which means that any other questions are not of their business.
Do you think there is a possibility that Russia would sign this agreement after all?
V. Tretiak: This Friday on June 9th we scheduled a meeting with presidents of all Super League’s clubs in order to discuss this issue. There is one detail: Bettman explicitly declared, if Russia does not sign the agreement, none of Russians playing in NHL would be allowed to go for the World Championship 2007 in Moscow.
In other words, some sort of decision must be made…
V. Tretiak: The present agreement will expire next year, and then new one should be signed for another three years. Thus, at the moment we have to decide whether to sign this agreement until it expires, or not to sign. According to labor legislature of Russian Federation, if any player decides to dissolve a contract, there is no way to stop the process. And Americans know this very well. After all, they can take away our players regardless of Russians’ choice to sign the agreement. Therefore, under such circumstances we are really talking about our NHLers’ availability to come for the World Championship in Moscow.
But Ovechkin was allowed to come for the recent World Championship in Riga…
V. Tretiak: Yes. Bettman reminded me about it right away, and told me that this occurred only because of personal respect to me. And such exclusions no longer will take place; he repeated it twice. Therefore, I’m going to discuss this question with the clubs’ presidents.
Does it mean that you didn’t make your decision yet?
V. Tretiak: The decision will be made by Friday.