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At The Non-Profit Bar

It is May. The ice is long melted, and the 2004?? 1/2 2005 NHL hockey season never happened. The Stanley Cup was never awarded. And Lord Stanley, the Earl of Derby and the Governor General of the Dominion of Canada, is turning over in his grave.

His soul rests uneasily because the silver cup he purchased in 1892 wasn't awarded to the winning team of a hockey championship game in 2005. Ordinarily this would be merely sad, but because he established a trust to carry out his wishes, this sad result also is illegal. Or so claim hockey-mad fans in Canada. They have a point.

Clearly, as former NHL employees the current trustees have at least a perceived conflict of interest. That conflict could easily invite a court's intervention if they refuse to consider awarding the Stanley Cup to a team in another league. They could either be ordered to consider that option, or new trustees could replace them and make more careful use of the power granted to them.

Even if the NHL gets its act together and plays a full season, these issues will not go away. Whatever the hockey equivalent of Pandora's box is, it has been opened. The Canadian fans and maybe even the Canadian legal system has been energized. The NHL should break out its treatise on the Law of Trusts (Canadian) and read up during the off-season.


Bruce D. Collins

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