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It’s a Great Day for HACC-Key!

Faiz-Ali Virji (2L)

Remember all those times you felt like you were possibly wasting your time looking up all there is to know about hockey in class instead of paying attention? Remember thinking “if only I could be studying hockey instead of law”? Well, from October 18-19, I was fortunate enough to do just that!

Manav Deol (3L) and I were fortunate enough to participate in the 2nd annual Hockey Arbitration Competition of Canada that weekend in Toronto. Big ups to both the U of A Sports and Entertainment Law Society for giving us the opportunity to represent the University of Alberta at the competition and to the University of Toronto Sports and Entertainment Law Society for hosting and putting on such a great event.

Now you may be asking, what exactly was this competition? Well, it was a mock NHL salary arbitration, where teams had to represent either the player or the club in three different arbitrations, with the objective of getting a result of either at least one dollar above or below the midpoint salary provided. The players in this year’s competition were Carl Gunnarsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chris Stewart of the St Louis Blues, and Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers. We were assigned to represent the Leafs, Blues and Zuccarello.

That in itself was a fun experience – getting to research hockey players for an actual purpose instead of just for fun? Hell yeah! But wait, it gets better – the guest arbitrators were all involved in the NHL somehow, either representing the clubs or league, or player agents. Let me tell you, the highlight of the competition was finding out that our Zuccarello arguments were very similar to the ones his agent actually used this previous summer!

The U of A did pretty well in its first go around at this competition, finishing first out of seven law schools in the Atlantic Division (I know, it makes no sense, just like the real NHL division) with a 2-1 record to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, we lost in the quarterfinals (to the same team we lost to in the round robin no less!) on, in our opinion anyway, a very questionable decision. To get the full story (read: rant), please see Manav or I. Warning: there will be lots of swearing and the term “inadmissible” will be said. A lot.

But regardless, I would say that this was one of the highlights of my law school career so far. It was an amazing experience to actually see some of the inner workings and thinking of the NHL and the people involved, and I definitely learned a lot. I would highly recommend this competition to anyone who is a hockey fanatic like myself. I mean, you could really do a lot worse than arguing about hockey with fellow law students in front of NHL player agents in Toronto for a weekend.