It’s no secret that hockey can sometimes be a violent sport, and knowledge of player weaknesses could influence which teams win. This is why many coaches in the National Hockey League, or NHL, choose to reveal only that players have ‘upper’ or ‘lower body’ injuries. However, the recent gambling ban lift in the United States could soon force coaches to be more specific.
It might seem a little odd, but many gamblers bet on teams based on knowledge of injuries and the team line up. Of course, there is still the issue of privacy. The NHLPA recently gave a statement on Twitter (pictured) where they expressed that they will still protect players’ rights. This includes protecting their right to privacy and publicity.
Professional hockey players are celebrities, and every aspect of their lives is put under a microscope. However, medical information about injuries will be protected by law. As such, the tendency for NHL coaches to hide injury-related details has come under fire this season.
Disclosing NHL Injuries
Part of the reason why coaches tend to generalise the injuries of players is because of ‘perceived competitive disadvantage’. They believe that disclosing specific injuries, such as a fracture on the hand, could make that player a target in the next match. In a way, it could be seen as match-fixing to reveal those kinds of things.
Then again, Ken Hitchcock, the former Stars coach, revealed that Marc Methot had knee surgery. What’s more, he revealed that Martin Hanzal had a hand injury. This information would be valuable to gamblers because they could bet accordingly. On the other hand, the teams could be sued by players for revealing personal information. The grey areas are quite large, but the NHL could soon make things clearer in the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
There are no definite answers yet, but the current CBA could be revised next year. Players will be able to decide whether or not they want to keep medical information private until 2022.