Is the corona dispute slowing down the ICE Hockey League?

A few days before the start of the bet-at-home ICE Hockey League, a point of contention leaves a big question mark about the smooth start of the 2021/22 season.

The stumbling block: the Covid prevention concept. More precisely: A clause whose acceptance by the players is essential in order to register the cracks for gaming.

And with their signature, the active players waive all legal claims against the league in the event of a corona infection, even if the ICE could be attributed (contributory) fault.

A clause that is not acceptable in this form for the players’ union “UNION”. And so, immediately before the planned start of the season, according to reports, numerous signatures from players of the KAC, VSV, Black Wings Linz and Vienna Capitals are still pending.

While one side locates a profiling disturbance shortly before the start of the league, the other side does not understand the actions of the ICE managers.

LAOLA1 has spoken to both sides and provides an overview of the cause:

Why is?

The players of the ICE Hockey League must confirm in writing that they are adhering to the league’s prevention concept when they register for the game. Such a prevention concept was already installed last season to enable games to be played.

The following paragraph can also be found in the relevant document:

“I expressly declare that I am participating in the above league as a game participant or employee […] participate and in connection with a possible infection with Covid-19 in the context of the ICE Hockey League expressly and finally waive any claims against the league or the league organization as well as against the respective organizer of the league games. “

A point that from the legal point of view of the “UNION” is immoral and therefore not permissible. Even in the case of intentional or grossly negligent infections, the players would have no way of asserting claims.

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“Next time the players have to take a team bus that is driven by a drunk bus driver and should sign as soon as they get on that they will forego all compensation in the event of an accident,” says Sascha Tomanek, chairman of the “UNION” and himself a lawyer, in a press release by the union, a striking comparison.

According to “UNION”, pressure was also exerted on the players to sign the letter. Partly by managers, partly by the leagues involved – the Steel Wings Linz are said to have been asked to sign last Saturday just before the start of the game in Asiago, as this would result in an immediate exclusion from the Alps Hockey League.

The proposal of the “UNION”, the disputed clause with the addition “as long as the league is not at fault” to defuse, was rejected according to the broadcast by the ICE presidium.

That’s what the league says

Opposite to LAOLA1 ICE managing director Christian Feichtinger speaks of the “prettiness of a regulation that has no relevance”, a view that league president Jochen Pildner-Steinburg explains in more detail.

Christian Feichtinger

Photo: © GEPA

Accordingly, the league’s clause would not issue a free ticket in the extreme case of the event. “I cannot do anything with gross negligence and believe that I will get away with impunity. That would not hold up in any court. Therefore, it is absolutely useless,” said the league president LAOLA1.

In addition, the clause is identical to the previous year, in which it was accepted by the players without hesitation. For Feichtinger, the regulations of the ICE compared to those of the DEL or the CHL, in which there is also Austrian participation, are “a children’s program against it.”

For the league it is only about “saying that rights and obligations are equally distributed on both sides. The clubs must make an effort to offer themselves as a safe environment, and the players must also admit to basic measures in the private sphere as well note.”

The league had already proven in the previous year that maximum care was taken. “We have a medical committee and we would not have made it through the last season if we had acted lightly here,” said Feichtinger.

An attempt at profiling the union?

The ICE bosses also clash at the time of the discussion: “We are ready to talk, but do not see the timing of the matter as beneficial. Such things should be clarified in preparation and not when the documents are with the clubs,” said Feichtinger .

In his opinion, “everyone involved should sit back, take a deep breath and let the championship begin. Then you can have these discussions when it comes to preparing for the next season.”

Jochen Pildner-Steinburg

Photo: © GEPA

Pildner-Steinburg locates a “positioning of the union to underline its importance”. The cooperation with the young “UNION” – founded in October 2020 – has so far been “unencumbered”.

“We are neither for nor against the union, we cooperate. But this action is unnecessary, especially if you spread false information,” Pildner-Steinburg also rejects the alleged pressure.

It will not happen under his presidency that “a young union interferes in the agenda of leagues and clubs.” Pildner-Steinburg therefore answered the advance “with a slight smile. The fans’ response to such statements will not fail to appear.”

Tomanek counters

LAOLA1 confronts UNION boss Sascha Tomanek with the views of those responsible for the ICE – and he sees things very differently.

The compromise proposal for the reformulation by the “UNION” had already been submitted on September 1st. Since then there has been no movement in the matter, rather the ICE presidium confirmed its insistence on the clause.

The position of the league is: Now leave it like that, talk about it again next year. “But that’s not a compromise. The players felt ripped off and didn’t sign it,” said Tomanek.

“Not everything has been so easy since we existed. It’s a way of slowing down the players and us as their representatives, that’s what it feels like.”

Sascha Tomanek locates power games

He or the “UNION” are not “conductors”: “It’s the players who say they don’t do it that way. We as legal advisors said: Don’t sign like that, that’s nonsense. What you do with the Providing information is your business. They are all grown-up people. If they sign that, they do it – then I have fewer arguments. Nobody is doing me a favor if they don’t sign it, “explains the UNION boss, but adds :

“I stand by the players that I stand up for them. They do not choose us to say: Just sign everything that you put in front of you.”

A show of force by the league?

The fact that a recently accepted clause is now a problem can be explained quite simply: “Because the union was only founded in October and the players had to sign it last August. This year they got it back and turned to us.”

The union would only come up with the discussion so shortly before the start of the season, “because we are only seeing it now! The serious approach would have been to sit down and see if everything is okay from the player’s point of view. to call us. “

On other issues, too, the cooperation is not as smooth as it would be desirable. “The number of emails that we send to you is considerably higher than the other way around. Is it a power game? Probably. But I don’t want that! I want to talk to you.”

“It says in the implementation regulations that the players submit to the prevention concept anyway. That’s why I don’t know why they insist on this slip of paper. Should it exist, but not in this form.”

Sascha Tomanek

Tomanek doesn’t understand the intransigence of the ICE either. “I haven’t heard a single argument why the clause should stay that way. Except that it already existed last year. That’s not an argument. We haven’t given it yet, otherwise we would have said it was nonsense . “

Especially when it is a “zero discussion”, “you can put the change in! I don’t understand the world. Why are they staying stubborn? Because they want to show the players power,” speculates the union boss.

“Not everything has been so easy since we existed. It’s a way of slowing down the players and us as their representatives, that’s what it feels like.”

What’s happening now?

The “UNION” fears that the four teams will be excluded – all of them big names in the league, followed by claims for damages from clubs and players against the ICE.

The fact is: The ICE Hockey League insists on the signing of the paper in order to register the players. If you haven’t done this by the start on Friday, you won’t play.

For the league, Pildner-Steinburg emphasizes “that we are looking to find a solution. We do not want to punish the players or question the championship under any circumstances.”

Tomanek himself cannot assess whether an agreement will be reached in time: “I don’t know how things will continue. I still hope that the league will give way, it didn’t sound like that. Apparently there is only one willingness to talk Page.”

He also sees no legal reason why it should not be possible to play without the signature: “It is anyway in the implementation regulations that the players submit to the prevention concept. So I don’t know why you insist on this slip of paper. Should it be him give, but not in this form. “

The players are “excited to play”. “So let them play!” Tomanek appeals.

One thing is guaranteed to unite everyone involved: the desire to play.

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