A story came out today written by Dave Feschuk and Rick Westhead on thestar.com that revealed something that totally shocked me: those that participated in the Winter Classic Alumni Game got completely and utterly hosed.

Apparently, some guys got paid zero dollars and no cents for their trouble, or at best, a couple hundred bucks.

I’m not sure how something like that happens.

For starters, it’s not like all the alumni all still live in the city of the team they once played for. Sure, they had their airfare and lodgings paid for, but you still have to eat for the couple days you’re out there. You still have to check your hockey bag. You’re still putting out money.

But that’s not even among either of the larger reasons. That game and all its massive revenue (estimated at over 4 mill in the article) doesn’t exist without those players. It was their names that brought fourty-five thosand fans to that building to drink beer, buy jerseys and food, pay to park, and pay for a ticket.

When NHL alumni play in other legends games, they get paid handsomely.

My Dad (Bob Bourne from the NY Islanders) will occasionally hop on a bus to go play four or five games in a week in front of Canadian fans who get to see their old heroes play another game, and I can tell you: depending on the name of the player, those guys can earn anywhere from $400 – $2000 a game, for the simple fact that the game doesn’t exist without them (every remaining penny from those games goes to charity). You can’t really have a concert without a band.

A lot of the guys who played in that game didn’t exactly get rich in the NHL either. And for many others, finding a career after the game didn’t go particularly smoothly. But the thing they do still have is their name, which they made people learn through their hard work and talents. They deserve to earn on that.

I know what some people will think of my tone – “hey, those guys got to play in the NHL!” – but that’s not how this stuff works. That’s a romantic notion and all, but I’m talking about business.

Maybe it wasn’t an intentional slight by the Flyers organization (the article says it’s the home team’s call on this payment stuff). Maybe some big names got appearance fees. There probably wasn’t intense debates over payment that the alumni lost. But it’s just not right.

I mean….they sold the guys sticks in the dressing room for $50 if guys didn’t want to travel with them? How generous.

The game was quite a spectacle, and a lot of fans had a great night – the players deserve some compensation for being the stars of the show.

But hey, I’m no money-man. Player-agent (Octagon Hockey) Allan Walsh, is however, so I’ll get out of the way here and let him weigh in.

I’m with ya dude. Brutal.