Is the Business Side of Hockey Off Side?

One could say the business side of hockey is way off side. No one ever questions that part of the game. It’s off limits.

Hockey’s code of silence is still fully intact.  Is it the business side or the dishonest side, you be the judge. 

‘It’s just business.’

‘That’s the way it is.’

‘We are running a business here.’

‘That side of the game will never change.’

We have heard it all before, it’s as cliché as a player interview during an intermission. Everyone involved in the game is afraid of inside edge of hockey’s business side.

‘Be prepared for it.’

Can you every really be prepared for the business side of the game? 

Hockey’s code of silence is perhaps engrained on all of its participants. Off-side is off-side right, or is it reviewable? 

Who’s reviewing that aspect of the game? 

No matter what role you have in the game the ‘business side’ means one thing and one thing only, ‘keep your mouth shut and move on, it’s just business. 

The default line to any shady or greasy happenings behind the scenes in the boardrooms or coach’s office is always ‘the business side.’ 

What does that even mean in 2019? 

Is it another way of saying your career is over? You have played your last game in the league? You’re not the right fit? You’re not in the organizations plans moving forward? You aren’t good enough? 

Or maybe, we made a mistake? 

The last phrase never appears in the cookie cutter approach to hockey’s new form press releases. A few lines of a prepared statement is published and everyone just returns to business as usual while the player, family and agent are left to pick up the pieces and look for their next opportunity in the game. 

‘We thank, (insert name here) for all of their contributions to the organization and wish them all the best in the future.’

The hockey world has become numb to its own systematic approach to handling its most valuable commodity by perhaps hiding behind the dark side of the ‘business side.’

There’s always two sides to a story and I’m all for an organization handling a personal matter regarding a player delicately and privately. 

The code of silence when it comes to personal matters is the high road. Nevertheless, the days of a ‘hockey decision’ are a thing of the past, it’s all business.

The code of silence is one thing; the code of conspiracy or cover up is another. 

I guess we will never know? 

In preparation for this article, I reached out to several individuals who all hold down certain roles within the game. The common thread amongst them all is an unwavering passion for hockey and unwillingness to potentially damage their place within it. 

The business side of the game remains protected, guarded with each organization’s integrity intact. 

Tinted or tainted, one may never fully understand the inner workings of the business side of the game, unless you’re in it.

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