There have been reports of the NHLPA considering decertification to allow for new possibilities. To understand what the process really means to the union, players, fans, owners, and all interested parties… I decided to do some research.
There are anti-trust laws in the USA to protect the competitive environment, and protect the marketplace. In this definition, the marketplace is the 30 teams competing for the Stanley Cup. The owners are effectively controlling the business of hockey by placing restrictions. These include free agency, rookie pay, and putting in place a salary cap which definitely controls what can be paid to players during their time with a team.
Another form of an antitrust violation is when the owners decided to lockout the players, and the NHL ceased operations.
Even with antitrust laws in place, the NHL is protected. How? The Collective Bargaining Agreement. It gets all parties to agree to terms and conditions of how everyone operates, and therefore… protects the NHL from antitrust lawsuits.
If the NHLPA decertifies as a union, they are effectively revoking power and authority. Why do this? To get more favorable terms and conditions written into a new CBA. This could also backfire on them as the owners can say, you signed these contracts under your own free will, and there was no coercion involved.
This could turn very messy, and could destroy the NHL as we know it… the lawsuits, and judgments alone would cripple the league, owners, and players.
Now, while I am not an attorney (and, never will claim to be one)… the only ones that benefit from lawsuits is… attorney’s.