SBD/June 7, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Details Released On NHL's Defined Benefit Pension Plan In New CBA

There "won’t be any doubt 40 years from now" that the '12-13 NHL lockout yielded positive results for NHL players, according to Chris Johnston of SPORTSNET.ca. Players under the terms of the new CBA will "earn as much as $255,000 annually after age 62 thanks to the defined benefit pension plan" the NHL and NHLPA negotiated into the deal. The details of the new plan are "laid out in the recently published 517-page CBA document, which has started to be distributed to NHL teams and player agents." NHL players previously had been on "a defined contribution plan and fought hard for the change." Even though the issue "didn’t receive as much attention as the split in revenues or contract term limits during the lockout, it was a top priority for the players." The article outlining the pension rules "ended up spanning 15 pages in the new CBA and the players were thrilled to see it included" (SPORTSNET.ca, 6/6). In Buffalo, David Robinson writes the new pension plan was "one of the bright spots" for NHL players in the CBA. The NHL previously had a pension plan for its retired players up until '86, "when it switched to a defined-contribution plan." Setting up new pension plans is "a rare occurrence at North American workplaces." The NHL in the new CBA agreed to contribute $38M annually to the pension fund "during each of the next 10 years." Details of how the pension plan will be structured have not been disclosed, but for "most NHL players, the benefits likely will be limited" because the "careers of most players are short." Buffalo-based Graystone Consulting was "picked to manage the pension fund" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/7).
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