Hockey contracts

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The following are the types of hockey contracts that players may be signed to when they play professional ice hockey.

NHL Contracts[edit]

Two way contract[edit]

A two-way contract is a professional sports contract which stipulates that an athlete’s salary is dependent upon the league in which the athlete is assigned to play.

One-way contract[edit]

A one-way contract means that the player is paid the same amount of money regardless of whether he plays in the NHL or the AHL. [1]

Standard Player Contract[edit]


This is what a player signs to lay out the terms of their playing status and salary. This is not transferable to the NHL and would require the player to sign a new contract with the NHL team.[2]

Professional Try Out[edit]

A Professional Try Out (PTO) is found only in the AHL. This type of contract is limited to 25 games and a player can only be signed to a PTO twice per season. After the second time, the player is either signed to a Standard Player Contract, is a free agent, or if the player is signed to an ECHL team, he is then returned to that team.[3] During the National Hockey League (NHL) preseason, veteran players who tryout for a team sign a PTO.[4]

Amateur Try Out[edit]

An Amateur Try Out (ATO) is found in the NHL, the AHL, and the ECHL. This type of contract is for players who are leaving college and attempting to turn professional, are done with college, or are graduating from the junior leagues. This is a very common practice near the end of the professional seasons as they go deeper into the year than college or junior schedules. A recent use of this in the NHL was on December 16, 2010, when the Phoenix Coyotes signed Tom Fenton to a one game amateur contract. Another use of an ATO was when the Minnesota Wild signed 51-year-old Paul Deutsch[5] on November 23, 2011.[6] Deutsch was signed because the Wild were unsure their minor league goalie, Matt Hackett, would arrive in time for the game. Deutsch wore number 33 and only participated in warm ups, as Hackett arrived just before the game started. Deutsch said the last time he played organized hockey was in 1978 as a defenseman on his junior varsity high school hockey team. He first played goalie at the age of 37 in a "beer league" in Minnesota.[7]

On March 28, 2012, Former University of Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick was signed to an ATO by the Columbus Blue Jackets after starting Goaltender Steve Mason was injured during practice.[8]

On February 28, 2014, the Buffalo Sabres signed their former video scout Ryan Vinz to an ATO after starting goaltender Ryan Miller was traded before warm-ups.[9]


  1. ^ "AHL-PHPA Collective Bargaining Agreement". 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Waivers 101:A Guide to the NHL Waiver Rules". 2009-11-26. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  3. ^ "Thrashers Prospect Annex: What is a PTO in the AHL". 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  4. ^ "Flyers sign Guerin to PTO". Philadelphia Flyers. September 13, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  7. ^ "Coyotes Need Emergency Backup Goaltender for Thursday's Game at the New York Rangers". 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick will be in uniform against Red Wings Wednesday". 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  9. ^ "NHL team forced to use former video scout as its backup goalie". 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-28.