Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Tollison , Robert D
Dougan , William R
The landscape of the NHL has changed significantly following the lockout season that began in 2004. This paper studies the effects of the rule changes that followed the lockout, the rule changes effect on the documented discrimination against French Canadian players, and models the determinants of wage in the NHL for the three positions in the NHL: forward, defenseman, and goaltender.
The rule changes and stricter enforcement of existing rules resulted in an increase in average scoring by all teams. The rule changes caused the value of scoring to decrease, and they increased the value of skilled defensemen, particularly those who are faster and more able to handle the puck well. This caused a shift away from the larger, more physical defensemen of the period before the lockout towards shorter and lighter players that are assumed to be more skilled and less physical in the period after the lockout. Value of these defensemen, measured in share of team payroll, increased after the lockout, but the values of goaltenders and forwards did not uniformly change across teams.
There is well documented discrimination against French Canadians in the NHL. Several authors have found that French Canadians are discriminated against at some level, be it entry into the NHL or salary once in the NHL. There is a theory that the discrimination exists because of a stylistic difference in the play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League that favors more scoring and a less physical style of play. If this were there case, there should be an increase in French Canadian players in the NHL following the lockout. This paper finds no evidence of wage discrimination against French Canadians in the period before the Lockout at any position. However, following the lockout, there were fewer French Canadians in the NHL and French Canadian defensemen and goaltenders were paid less than other players.
This paper also models wage determinants for the three positions. It finds that each position has different desirable statistics and important statistics in the pre lockout period are not always those that are valued in the post lockout period.
Watterson, Sean, "Position Value and Wage Determinants in the NHL" (2009). All Theses. 713.