As social contract theories play out in sports, some NHL owners are seeking to avoid potential conflicts in their deals.
Here are some questions you should ask.
What is social contract?
Social contract theory posits that a club’s owner can’t control how players are treated and the contract of its players, who must follow a set of social rules.
But if a team’s owners and players have some sort of agreement, the owners can negotiate contracts that are more equitable.
Some NHL owners have said they’re open to the idea, while others have not.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has called for social contract agreements in all sports.
“I think it’s an interesting idea and I think it would be good to look at it,” Los Angeles Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said in March.
“The players have to be treated equally, the coaches have to get the same salary, the players have been treated fairly in the past, I think that is the way to go.”
A group of owners in Canada, which includes the NHL and the NHLPA, have said that social contract talks are needed to reduce the inequities in the NHL’s business and that some of the league’s existing collective bargaining agreements need to be updated to reflect the new rules.
But a lack of progress on those talks has led some owners to say they’re not ready to make social contract negotiations until after the current CBA expires.