Interview with Vladislav Tretyak

Vladislav Tretyak, Russian Ice Hockey Federation President and Hall of Fame goaltender, told RT about the ongoing dispute between NHL and RIHF over the player transfer agreement, which Russia refuses to sign.

Russia Today: Russia didn’t join the player transfer agreement with NHL – it’s no big news. Could you clarify the reasons you believe it to be unfavourable for Russian clubs?

Vladislav Tretyak: We had a meeting among the clubs, and we invited the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation, Rene Fasel to come. There we voiced our complaints about the agreement. We want North American clubs to respect our contract terms. We are all for co-operation, we want co-operation and we do every thing to play and to compete. But we want this respect for our contracts. If a player is under a contract, they can buy him out or take him after his contract expires. That’s all – no more complains. We are prepared to let our players go, once their contracts are fulfilled. Or, I say this again, if you want him straight away, they must refund his club what it paid him. NHL allocates a certain sum for all the international hockey players – the Finns, the Swedes, the Czechs. And the players’ salary depends on how many players leave for them. The biggest salary is $US 200,000. But that’s if only 45 players go. And if there’s 70 of them – nobody can foresee that – the pay drops to as little as $US 100,000. I believe our hockey players, like Ovechkin, or Malkin, or our young promising stars, who can play very good hockey, are worth more than $US 100,000. That’s why our clubs are against this agreement, and we, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, support them.

RT: Is it true that the Labour Code will be changed to allow us get real money?

V.T.: Today we have submitted to the State Duma proposed amendments to the Labour Code that will force our foreign hockey partners to respect our contracts. They will stipulate penalties for players. If a player under contract leaves, he will be legally responsible for this.