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 tryout[edit]

A Professional tryout (PTO) is found in the AHL and NHL. In the AHL, this type of contract is limited to 25 games. Teams may sign players to multiple PTOs at any time during the season, provided that after the completion of the PTO the player shall have the right to sign a regular AHL contract or PTO with another AHL team.

During the National Hockey League (NHL) preseason, veteran players who tryout for a team sign a PTO.[3]

Amateur tryout[edit]

An Amateur tryout (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. An ATO is a very common practice near the end of the professional seasons as they go deeper into the year than college or junior schedules. In the NHL, an ATO may only be used for 1 day for emergency with no pay or compensation for skaters in accordance with Exhibit 17 of the NHL-NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). ATOs in the NHL are typically only used for goalies since, in practice, teams always retain more than the needed eighteen skaters on their NHL rosters, making it highly likely that any skater who becomes unavailable for a game on short notice can be replaced by another player who otherwise would have been a "healthy scratch".

For goalies and skaters the ATO may only be used according to the NHL-NHLPA CBA section 13-13(m)(ii), when Emergency conditions shall be established when the playing strength of the Loaning Club, by reason of incapacitating injury or illness or by League suspension to its Players is reduced below the level of two (2) goalkeepers, six (6) defensemen and twelve (12) forwards. Proof of the existence of the emergency conditions including the incapacity shall be furnished to the Commissioner of the League upon request made by him.

Every team in the League is required to maintain a list of emergency goaltenders who reside in their respective club's home market. These goaltenders can be signed when needed by either home or visiting teams.

Recent ATOs[edit]

On December 16, 2010, 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[4] on November 23, 2011.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

On February 15, 2016, the Arizona Coyotes signed emergency goalie Nathan Schoenfeld, the son of former Coyotes coach and New York Rangers senior vice president Jim Schoenfeld, to an ATO after backup goaltender Anders Lindbäck was injured in an off-ice activity before warmups.[9]

On December 3, 2016, the Chicago Blackhawks signed emergency goalie Eric Semborski, a former Temple University club goalie, to an ATO after goalie Corey Crawford presented acute appendicitis, and underwent an appendectomy before a game in Philadelphia.

On December 31, 2016, the Carolina Hurricanes signed emergency goalie Jorge Alves, who serves as the team's equipment manager, to an ATO after goalie Eddie Lack came down with food poisoning hours before face off for the game in Tampa Bay. Alves replaced starting goalie Cam Ward in net with 7.6 seconds remaining in the game and a faceoff at the other end of the rink, after the Lightning were called for icing the puck. [10]

On March 29, 2018, Chicago Blackhawks signed emergency goalie Scott Foster, a former Western Michigan University goalie, to an ATO after Anton Forsberg injured himself playing soccer during warm up. During that night's game against the Winnipeg Jets, the starting goalie Collin Delia (who also made his NHL debut that night) was injured early in the 3rd period, and Scott Foster played, becoming the first emergency backup goalie to be forced to play in the NHL due to injuries. He wore #90, and stopped all 7 shots he faced in 14:01 ice time, including 1 power play shot to kill a 1 minute power play, and was named the 1st star of the game. [11]

On April 12, 2018 The San Jose Barracuda sign Nick Cafreli (Goalie) to an ATO after the San Jose Sharks recalled Antoine Bibeau for out of town playoff game.

All of the goaltenders listed above served as backups to the team's remaining available goaltender. As of the 2017-18 season, only Scott Foster and Jorge Alves have actually played in an NHL game.


  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. ^ "Flyers sign Guerin to PTO". Philadelphia Flyers. September 13, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Paul Deutsch". Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  6. ^ "Coyotes Need Emergency Backup Goaltender for Thursday's Game at the New York Rangers". 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  7. ^ "Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick will be in uniform against Red Wings Wednesday". 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  8. ^ "NHL team forced to use former video scout as its backup goalie". 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  9. ^ "Yotes Notes: Emergency Goalie Races to Arena to Replace Injured Lindback". 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Emergency backup goalie plays for Blackhawks in win against Jets". 2018-03-29. Retrieved 2018-03-30.