Skip to main content

The National Hockey League and the Law

Not all hockey conflicts are settled on the ice. This guide introduces materials for researching the turbulent world of NHL legal conflicts.

Drop the Puck...

National Hockey League (Logo) vs National Hockey League Players' Association (Logo)

The last two decades have not been kind to hockey fans who look forward to seeing an entire NHL season, from the October pre-season games through the Stanley Cup finals in June, every single year.  

Three labor disputes in less than twenty years, one in 1994, one in 2004, and another in 2012, have resulted in a lot of canceled hockey games and resentment, with some casual hockey fans finally being driven away from the sport for good.  In a world in which so many sports must compete for entertainment dollars, the NHL can sorely afford this.  The economic damage from shortened seasons also reaches, among others, arena workers and business owners that rely on professional hockey games to generate customer traffic.

This guide primarily introduces resources for researching NHL labor relations, a topic ripe for those who are interested in sports law, labor law, and alternative dispute resolution.  It includes freely-available internet sources, as well as books and subscription database materials that are available to Harvard law students.  

The guide also provides materials on other NHL legal topics, including Olympic participation and legal relations with foreign leagues and players.  A selection of general sports law research materials is also included.

Please direct any questions or comments to reference librarian Jennifer Allison.  Feedback is welcome and encouraged.

Getting Help from a Research Librarian

For help, visit the HLSL Ask a Librarian website:  

This site includes links to all of our research guides, contact information for the research librarians (phone, text, email, chat), and a schedule of our training classes.