Established in 1967, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) is comprised of the 750 players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The primary role of the Association is to act as the collective bargaining unit on behalf of the players, but also assists and manages in areas such as marketing, licensing, pension, insurance and communications. Some of the key areas of support and management the Association provides are:
Negotiating terms of the collective bargaining agreement with the NHL
Certification Program for player agents
Professional development programs
Improving working conditions and creating player safety initiatives
Further to the labour and career assistance elements, the NHLPA has always played a major role in the development and expansion of international hockey. The NHLPA has been a driving force behind international games and tournaments, including the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, along with the Canada Cup and the World Cup of Hockey tournaments. The NHLPA has also played a key role in the in NHL preseason and regular-season international games played around the world, as well as the annual IIHF World Hockey Championship. The NHLPA also helped secure NHL player participation in five Winter Olympics.
The NHLPA’s members have always been and continue to be focused on giving back to the game of hockey at the grassroots level. To address this collectively and in an effort to make a significant impact, in 1999 the players created NHLPA Goals & Dreams. The Goals & Dreams program has contributed over $23 million to grassroots hockey programs and related causes in 33 countries, making it the largest grassroots hockey program in the world. Through the donation of equipment grants, the program has provided more than 70,000 children with the opportunity to play hockey.
On the business side, the Players’ Association works closely with the corporate community on partnerships to tie brands to the world’s best hockey players through the NHLPA’s group licensing program.
Over the past 50 years, all of the improvements NHL players have made both on and off the ice are the result of the players unifying and collectively working together to improve the game for future generations of NHL players.