Bruce Dowbigging's Money Players
is a provocative and timely release as the expiration of the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement looms. The current labor crisis is pegged to the widely held notion that rising salaries are outpacing revenues. Dowbigging writes, "It's no exaggeration to say that, since Wayne Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles in 1988, the NHL has squandered every opportunity for growth that came its way." For decades, NHL owners treated their players like indentured servants. By keeping costs low, the owners had little incentive to grow revenues. In recent years, they have relied primarily on selling franchises to grow the sport as a whole, which has diluted the product, making it even less attractive to a larger audience. Many point to that infamous Gretzky trade as the moment the salary pendulum began its swing towards the players. But it was cunning agents like Mike Gillis and Rick Curran who, by exploiting loopholes in the CBA and taking advantage of salary disclosure, were the real catalyst for the meteoric rise in player's wages. And while former Players Association Executive Director Alan Eagleson was essentially a toady for the league, his replacement Bob Goodenow has transformed the NHLPA into a powerful union.
Bruce Dowbigging has long been one of Canada's most insightful and intelligent sports reporters--not to mention a gifted storyteller. His accounts of salary negotiations read like the plotting of a good suspense novel. Tales of pre-NHLPA treatment of hockey players are positively Dickensian. To say this book will provoke discussion amongst those who read it is an understatement. Money Players covers a subject most every Canadian has an opinion on and will certainly challenge reader's misconceptions regarding hockey's labor issues. --Moe Berg
“The most enlightening book I have ever read about the history and current situation of hockey.”
–Paul C. Weiler, Friendly Professor of Law, Harvard University, and author of Leveling the Playing Field: How the Law Can Make Sports Better for Fans
“An excellent look at the men being paid huge salaries to give us hockey.”
–Ron MacLean, Host, Hockey Night in Canada
should be mandatory reading for serious hockey fans."
–Globe and Mail
“…Dowbiggin pulled off the tricky feat of getting to the stories behind the obvious he-shoots-he-scores narratives in an entertaining but never dumbed-down style… With his latest offering, Money Players, Dowbiggin completes his hat trick of excellent hockey titles… [He] gives a well-rounded, lively look at professional hockey labour relations and economics in fine style.”
–Quill and Quire