With the CHL and 400-plus former players currently embroiled in a lawsuit, and all the news and court proceedings, one voice that hasn’t been heard is from the families of current WHL players. DUBNetwork was contacted by a family member of a current player who wanted to share their thoughts on the issues at hand, we took the opportunity to ask them some questions.
*At the request of the family and their advisor, DUBNetwork has granted the family anonymity. Independent verification of the status of the player was completed as well.
DubNetwork: What were some of the factors in play for when your son was deciding whether or not to play in the CHL?
Parent: I always just wanted my sons to play at highest level of hockey possible. My other sons unfortunately never had the opportunity to decide which route to go, college or major junior. For our family it wasn’t much of a decision at all, there of course was some discussion both ways but it was always major junior. So to answer your question it is kind of a long answer. Our family has friends that have gone both routes (NCAA and Major Junior) and we have asked a lot of questions on both sides. At end of day some of the factors in our decision were the coaching in major junior is far superior in my opinion, the education package, tutoring on the road trips, exposure, location of almost all teams in WHL. For us (as a family) most are drive able distances, some of course much longer than others but still drive able if we wanted to go watch our son play.
DN: Does the one-year of education for one-year of play seem like a fair reimbursement for players to you?
P: Yes absolutely, after years of paying thousands of dollars for our sons to play the game they love and to now have one of them get to play for free and get a paid education out of it, are you kidding me! There are so many different options you can use education package for whether it be a Canadian university , Vocational School or just various courses you want to pick up, you have options.
DN: What sort of other costs do the team cover?
P: Billeting, equipment, all travel for players on the road including meals, any medical issues: doctors, physiotherapy, etc. There is really no cost whatsoever to us as a family anymore, other than some spending money on a new suit and clothes.
DN: Is education valued by the CHL in your opinion?
P: Absolutely, this is very important to our family from tutors on the road trips to team education advisor. The team monitoring marks and attendance in school.
DN: What do you think will happen if CHL teams are forced to pay minimum wage to all of their players and back pay to all included in a potential class action lawsuit?
P: I really don’t know, to be honest it makes no sense to me. It has never crossed our minds about a wage for our son to play a game he loves in a league he loves with no cost to our family. If our son can get 2 – 5 yrs education paid for at end of his junior career at minimum that’s unreal.
We have paid thousands of dollars for our sons to play hockey over the years never once considering eventually making minimum wage, but hoping if they could somehow get some free education out of it would be amazing. I have never in all my years of hockey ever heard a parent say I hope my kid can go play hockey and make minimum wage someday. It has always been “I hope my kid can some day get an education out of hockey”.
DN: Have you ever felt like any CHL teams you have had dealings with were taking advantage of their players?
P: To my knowledge, no never.
DN: What are you aware of that the team/WHL/CHL provides for players (ie. Sticks, equipment, meals etc..)?
P: I touched on this earlier but yes sticks, equipment, billeting, meals and accommodations on the road as well as school tutors. Doctors appointments, physiotherapy, dentist, chiropractor etc.
We as a family were fully aware of what WHL had to offer when our son signed his contract, we as parents looked over the contract extensively as well as our advisor who made sure we understood everything before he signed.
For further information on the former player’s lawsuit against the CHL/WHL/OHL currently being contested in court: