SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Proposed terms for the upcoming 2020-21 AHL season have been submitted by the league to the Professional Hockey Players ‘ Association (PHPA). Unfortunately, these terms may potentially put the upcoming season in jeopardy.
The proposal is to provide players with a pay scale if (or when) teams have to opt-out due to COVID-19 outbreaks or COVID-19 protocol changes. Within the proposal was a request to the PHPA to sign it by 11 am Thursday. This deadline, requested by the AHL, is not legally binding by the organization. This means that the association can respond at any time they wish.
One-way AHL contracts are where the proposal hits the hardest. Under this proposal, those players are guaranteed 40% of their annual salary, regardless of how many games are played. This figure can be extended to a maximum of 48% if all games are played. Though, this is only half of what players expected when they signed their agreement back in June. So, if the AHL season is canceled, teams will only be obligated to pay 40%. For example, if the Canadian Division is scrapped, players will be paid a minimum of 40%.
Under this, players assigned to the ECHL would also be paid their maximum 48%. This portion of the agreement also applies to those on two-way contracts.
Though the 40% is the minimum for salaries, any player who is making under $62,500 a season will receive $30,000. Meanwhile, any player paid over $62,500 will get 48% of that salary.
As for signing bonuses – they’ll be paid in full. Meanwhile, performance bonuses will be pro-rated to next season.
The veteran rule also stays intact but leaves room for stoppages due to COVID-19.
If the PHPA does not sign the new proposal (or if no agreement is reached), the league could fall back on the document signed last July or close the doors on the upcoming season.
Calder Cup Still in Question
The Calder Cup has been one thing that has been on the stovetop for the AHL, but no word has been released on what the playoffs could look like.
Today, The Athletic reported there will be no Calder Cup playoffs, at least not in the format we are used to seeing. The report states players and coaches may look at a modified playoff to find the top team in a division, but no additional compensation will be provided. All this providing there will be no Calder Cup awarded.
Continue to follow The Sin Bin for updates as this story unfolds.
Zack Power covers the Toronto Marlies for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinMarlies.