NHL Wins Case Against Yashin

Archived from 2000-01 season.

NHL teams

The NHL announced that it has won its case against Ottawa Senators holdout center Alexei Yashin, a decision that means he owes the team another year of service.

Yashin Yashin played four seasons of his five-year contract with the Senators before sitting out the 1999-2000 season after the team refused to re-negotiate his contract. Yashin contended that he would be a restricted free agent on July 1.

This is an important decision for the league as it sets a standard for preventing a player from getting around a contract by sitting out.

This is a standard clause in the collective agreements of the other major professional sports. The NHL tried but failed to get it in its last round of bargaining with the NHL Players' Association.

"We think the arbitrator reached the correct result -- as a legal matter, a moral matter and an ethical matter," Bill Daly, the NHL's executive vice-president, said about arbitrator Lawrence Holden's ruling. "We are pleased the sanctity of our contracts, and the obligations undertaken therein, has been upheld. We also applaud the Ottawa Senators for the very strong and principled stance they have taken throughout this matter."

The league, which confirmed the decision, would not release any other details of the case, except to say the decision was rendered by arbitrator Lawrence Holden of Boston.

A second arbitration hearing is scheduled for July over the league's contention that the Senators should receive $7 million in damages because Yashin's refusal to report to Ottawa hurt the club's performance on the ice as well as in sales of tickets and merchandise.

The Senators say that they'll welcome Yashin back.

"We're confident that Alexei's return to the team will reward the fans and the community with an outstanding season of hockey to come," general manager Marshall Johnston said.

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