I did some research and came up with some of the information from the National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
While we don't have access to the actual wording of Heatley's contract, this information may help people understand how difficult the process can be when both Parties fail to agree.
Another aspect of Employment Agreements and Personal Service Contracts is the provision for an Addendum, a document which may specify whether or not, and under what conditions, the original Agreement may be modified.
Again, not knowing the parameters of the CBA in this respect, makes it difficult to determine whether or not there are/were provisions in the Agreement that might make it possible to modify same.
Further, the question of Resolution in the case of a dispute between the Parties can be addressed in an Agreement, or an Addendum. We have no access to that information as pertains to the contract between Heatley and the Senators.
Regarding conflict resolution, it is customary for an Agreement to contain language that provides for a process to be initiated (such as arbitration or litigation), should the Parties find themselves in conflict due to the perceived or actual failure to honor the Agreement.
NTC - player cannot be traded without his consent; consent not required for waivers for assignment to minors.
NMC - player cannot be traded, waived for a claim by another team, or assigned to the minors without his consent. [This does not protect the player from a buyout.]
From Article 11.8 in the CBA:
( a ) The SPC (Standard Player Contract--ed.) of any player who is a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent under Article 10.1(a) may contain a no-Trade or a no-move clause. SPCs containing a no-Trade or a no-move clause may be entered into prior to the time that the Player is a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent so long as the SPC containing the no-Trade or no-move clause extends through and does not become effective until the time that the player qualifies for Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agency. If the player is traded or claimed on Waivers prior to the no-Trade or no-move clause taking effect, the clause does not bind the acquiring Club. An acquiring Club may agree to continue to be bound by the no-Trade or no-move clause, which agreement shall be evidenced in writing to the Player, Central Registry and the NHLPA, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof.
( b ) A no-move clause may prevent the involuntary relocation of a player, whether by Trade, Loan or Waiver claim. A no-move clause, however, may not restrict the Club's buy-out and termination rights as set forth in this Agreement. Prior to exercising its Ordinary Course Buy-Out rights pursuant to Paragraph 13 of the SPC hereof, the Club shall, in writing in accordance with the notice provisions in Exhibit 3 hereof, provide the Player with the option of electing to be placed on Waivers. The Player will have twenty-four (24) hours from the time he receives such notice to accept or reject that option at his sole discretion, and shall so inform the Club in writing, in accordance with the notice provisions in Exhibit 3 hereof, within such twenty-four (24) hour period. If the Player does not timely accept or reject that option, it will be deemed rejected.
Unless otherwise specified, a NTC/NMC [whichever is applicable] is for the remainder of the player's current contract and is considered to be a full NTC/NMC [as the case may be] with no restrictions.
So if the Senators were to file a grievance against Heatley for what they might claim is his failure to honour the Agreement--as some have suggested--or that he might have through his actions, damaged the reputation of, or caused irreparable harm to the business of the team (for example, a negative impact on merchandise and ticket sales), what could the consequences be?
As this drama continues to unfold, and the emotions surrounding the situation become heightened, it may be useful to step back and consider the complexity of a business relationship that has gone so badly wrong.
And with millions of dollars in the balance, not only as far as Dany Heatley's compensation is concerned, but in terms of the effect on the success of the Senators Hockey Club both on the ice, at the box office and all of the ancillary revenues, the stakes are almost impossible to calculate.
There having been so much discussion on so many threads dealing with The Heatley Affair, I thought that opening a thread dedicated specifically to this aspect might be useful.
I'm not an expert by any means on the subject, but having dealt with contracts and business relationships on levels that equate with the dollars being discussed here, I find the entire situation both fascinating and disturbing.
Fascinating, of course, because it demonstrates how much hockey has become an entertainment business; and disturbing, because a sport which should be fun, can turn so quickly into a public spectacle where a professional athlete once adored can become so intensely hated.
Looking forward to the comments of our GM Hockey members.