What Is A Waiver In Hockey? [Fact Checked!]

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Everyone on the ice wants to score, but sometimes defense can be the key to victory.

Often, the most valuable players on a hockey team are not the best at scoring but instead rely on their defense and special teams to put the puck in the net. Getting the opposing team to underestimate you is essential in winning games. One way to do that is by utilizing the waiver wire.

A waiver wire is where you can find players who are not under contract with any NHL team but are still under team control. Teams use the waiver wire to block out-of-contract players from being claimed by other teams in revocable waivers. If an NHL team feels another team is better suited to play a certain role or a better fit for their roster, they may block that player’s access to other teams in a revocable waiver.

Sometimes a player may need to be waived due to an injury or poor performance. In these cases, the team may send a form to the NHL to have the player removed from the payroll. Once removed, the player becomes a free agent and is officially available for other teams to claim.

How Does It Work?

A player can be blocked from being claimed through a revocable waiver if their contract is non-exclusive. A non-exclusive contract means the player is free to negotiate with other teams. A team that signs a non-exclusive player is agreeing to allow that team to negotiate with other teams for the player’s services. As long as the player is not under contract with any other team, they remain available for other teams to claim through waivers. However, if a team claims a player through a revocable waiver, the original team can negotiate with that team for the player’s services. Once the contract is agreed to, the original team has the option to release the player from their contract.

A Revocable Waiver For Better or For Worse?

Players on a non-exclusive contract remain available for other teams to claim through a revocable waiver either for better or for worse. If a team feels the player’s performance is lacking or the player is better suited for a certain role, they can block that player’s access to the rest of the NHL through a waiver. The team may eventually re-sign the player or they may let them walk in free agency. Either way, the player will not be able to negotiate with other teams for better terms. There is also the option of letting the player walk away in free agency without any consequences.

What Are The Roles and Responsibilities?

Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the waiver, the roles and responsibilities of the team may change. The National Hockey League and its member teams maintain the right to determine whether or not to grant a waiver to a player. However, the Commissioner has the final call on whether or not to allow a player to be removed from a team’s payroll. Below we will discuss some of the most common waivers in hockey along with the roles and responsibilities that go along with each.


The Nashville Prospect is a name given to a group of players who play for the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in the Nashville Predators. The organization and coaching staffs of the Chicago Blackhawks work with the Nashville Predators to develop players who can eventually contribute to the Blackhawks’ roster. In 2019, the Nashville Prospects’ AHL team had the best record in the league and made a run at the Calder Cup. The Nashville Predators’ senior management and coaching staffs have praised the development of their players through this agreement and look at it as a key to their future success.


The legal documents that define an NHL contract are generally referred to as a “Suitcase”. An NHL suitcase is where all the relevant documents regarding an agreement are kept. A draft wrapped NHL suitcase is usually delivered to an agency or lawyer after the completion of a draft. The contents of the box are then made available to the team and their representatives for review and signature.

A “Draft Wrapped” NHL suitcase contains all the essential forms, including the standard player contract as well as the standard waiver forms for both the player and their agents. The standard player contract is where every hockey player’s legal rights and obligations are defined. The standard waiver forms allow a team to retain their draft picks as well as give them the right to negotiate with the player’s agent for a new contract. In the case of injury or poor performance, the team has the right to remove the player from their payroll under certain circumstances.


Non-residential mailboxes are mailboxes that do not need to be collected and brought back to the sender’s residence. Teams may hold all their player contract information and correspondence in these mailboxes. Often times, these mailboxes are located near the team’s practice facility or in the lobby of a nearby hotel. Since these mailboxes are not collected and brought back to the residence of the addressee, the delivery of mail is usually less expensive.


An owner’s equity in a hockey team is essentially a player’s share of the team. It is not typically a loan from a private lender or a guarantee of repayment from an insurance company. The only difference between an owner’s equity and a loan is in the terms and interest rates of the agreements. In an owner’s equity agreement, the team is agreeing to pay a certain amount of money over a period of time with interest.


A warranty can be defined as a promise or agreement to do something in the future. A team can enter into a warranty agreement with a manufacturer or vendor to provide the team with a certain level of performance from athletic equipment or software. The terms of the warranty can vary from contract to contract but typically include things like labor, parts, and service after the warranty expires. Some examples of warranties in hockey include:

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