The Players’ Association is in the game for the players
The Finnish Ice Hockey Players’ Association, more informally the Players’ Association, is an organization for professional ice hockey players. We support our players and help them to develop. We also work to promote ice hockey culture. Since an ice hockey player’s career is short as a professional career and happens at a time when other young people receive education for other occupations, the Players’ Association helps the players prepare for the time after the player’s career.
The Players’ Association is a player’s best support
The ice hockey player’s profession has turned into a surprisingly common occupation when compared, for example, with the professions of an airline pilot or a surgeon. Up to nearly 900 Finns receive a salary for playing ice hockey, when Finnish players in the professional leagues of other countries are counted in.
The Players’ Association promises to be every ice hockey player’s best support. Through the association, the players have access to specialist services, benefits, and protection in conflicts. In cases of dispute, the Players’ Association acts as an arbitrator between the player and the club. We also regularly solve disputes that may arise with agents and insurance companies.
Thanks to the Players’ Association, the players can deposit a major share of their income in a reserve fund for post-playing career life. This way, the players can avoid unreasonably high taxes during their playing years. The reserve funds are managed by the Hockey Players’ Educational and Career Advancement Foundation, working under the auspices of the Players’ Association.
Certain educational institutions have special study programs tailored to the needs of ice hockey players, to make studying possible during the playing career. Six ice hockey lecturers guide hockey players towards studies around the country. Several parties are involved in both the study programs and the lecturer system. The common denominator is that the entire education system was launched by the Players’ Association.
For the safety of the players, the Players’ Association works like the drivers’ association in Formula 1. While Formula 1 cars have received safer bodywork, ice hockey players now have flexible ice rinks – one of these innovations is used for driving, the other for playing.
The Players’ Association is a collective force
The profession of an ice hockey player is a childhood dream in which the players have invested a great deal of their lives. The Players’ Association’s mission is “Turning an ice-hockey player’s dream into a dream job”. To achieve this, the association negotiates a General Agreement, which corresponds to the collective bargaining agreement, together with a Player Agreement. It is an employment contract in which everything is agreed upon, except for the salary.
Without these agreements, both players and clubs would be left alone. Players would be more susceptible to abuse, and clubs would lose a lot of time and money, which they can currently use for team development. This is why the leaders of the League, the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, and the sponsors have been happy for a long time that they have a contracting partner representing all the players.
A team which all the payers share is a force that can even affect legislation. In 1999, it was decided that athletes could deposit their income in a fund for post-career life – and it was the hockey players that led the change.
The current vision of the Players’ Association is to achieve the same legal rights to professional athletes as people working in other jobs have. The fact is that players are still worse off than, for example, coaches, if they happened to fall and hurt themselves in the shower, for instance.