The Current

Unifor says major junior hockey players need a union

Some argue that major junior hockey players -- some as young as 16 -- are not being fairly compensated for the all the hours they put in to train and play.
There are those who argue that players -- some as young as 16 -- are not being fairly compensated for the all the hours they put in to train and play. Now, the largest private sector union in Canada says it's time they were represented.
It's just ridiculous. You have players that, depending on where they play, for example, in Quebec, they make $35 a week. If you play in Western Canada, you make $50 a week. If you play in Ontario, you don't get paid at all...There is some real exploitation happening here and we want to make sure this gets fixed.Jerry Diaz, Unifor's National President

Being selected by the NHL's Florida Panthers made Aaron Ekblad the eighth straight player from the Canadian Hockey League to be drafted first overall...

The Canadian Hockey League is comprised of the Quebec Major Junior, Ontario and Western Hockey Leagues. In the 2014 draft, nearly half the players picked to go pro were from the CHL. But the story doesn't end so well for all of the players.

We need to make sure that people have proper insurance...People are entitled to go to school. So this really has to be about those that don't make it.Jerry Diaz, Unifor's National President

So, should players in the Canadian Hockey League be represented by a union?

To help answer that question, we were joined by three guests:

- Colt Kennedy is a former major junior hockey player and is now a student at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

- Jamie McKinven is a former professional hockey player and author of So You Want Your Kid to Play Pro Hockey.

- David Branch is the President of the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella organization for the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Do you think major junior hockey players need a union?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Sarah Grant.


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