Confidential documents obtained by HockeyRefs.com show that a large percentage of the officiating staff could refuse to re-new their employment contracts.
“While the AHL has operated for almost 70 years with an officiating staff who were proud to be part of the … family and who understood the nature of the league, there is no question that in recent years we have inadvertently allowed our expense reimbursement to fall short of what was fair and equitable, and we have addressed that for the coming season,” AHL president Dave Andrews said in a letter Wednesday.
He also added that the league fails to make money and couldn’t survive “without NHL support.”
The letter was in response to a September 9 meeting between veteran linesmen and AHL executives.
A reply was sent early Thursday by veterans Conrad Hache, Hans Baker, Jay Jacobs, Jim Doyle, Joe Ross, John Costello, and Kevin Redding.
They claim the compensation plan discussed at the meeting is still behind U.S. government standards for travel reimbursement.
The letter countered the AHL’s claim they lose money by saying: “For the three seasons ending in 2004, the league distributed millions of dollars per season to make sure that it does not make money.
“We are asking for a very small percentage of that distribution to improve linesman compensation.”
“The league has no interest in taking a confrontational approach with our linesmen who have served the league in a professional and highly competent manner and for whom we have the utmost respect, however administratively we will be unable to assign any officials who elect not to return a signed contract,” Andrews added.
The seven linesmen want their game fees to be $145 for 2005-2006 and $165 by 2007-2008. Currently, they receive $120.