SBD/Issue 192/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Judge Rules NHL Has Been Underfunding Players' Pension Funds

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that the NHL has been "underfunding its players' pension plans by millions of dollars, shortchanging widows over a number of decades," according to Paperny & Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. The judge's decision "means the league will have to top up its pension fund by as much as" $30M, and "may have to make retroactive payments to the widows of deceased players." The suit, brought forward last year by the NHLPA, "charged that errors in the calculation of pensions for players who died before 1986 meant their widows received as little as" 10% of the funds entitled to them. NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly yesterday said, "We're very pleased the court has ruled in favour of the position we advocated. ... We are still studying the decision. We will get together with the trustees from the league in a week or so to see how we will implement this." Paperny & Shoalts note teams now will "have to provide the money to top up the pension fund." The NHL "will have the opportunity to appeal the decision" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/24).

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