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Nassau Sports v. Peters

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
352 F. Supp. 870 (1972)


Facts

Garry Peters (defendant) was a professional hockey player who played for the Boston Bruins (Bruins) during the 1971-1972 season. At the close of that season, the newly-created New York Islanders (Islanders) drafted Peters for the 1972-1973 season. Nassau Sports (Nassau) (plaintiff) owned the Islanders. Both the Bruins and the Islanders were teams within the National Hockey League (NHL), in which Peters had been playing for nearly 10 years. Peters’s contract with the Bruins was the NHL’s standard player’s contract, which included an exclusive-employment provision requiring Peters to play only for the team with the rights to his hockey-playing services. When the Islanders drafted Peters, the Bruins contracted with Nassau and the Islanders to transfer Peters’s NHL contract and hockey-playing services to the Islanders for the 1972-1973 season. The Bruins-Islanders contract expressly stated that Peters agreed that he was an exceptional hockey player, that monetary damages would insufficiently compensate the Islanders if the team lost Peters, and that the Islanders could enjoin or prevent Peters from playing for another team. Peters knew that the Bruins had assigned his contract to the Islanders, and Peters began negotiating with Nassau about his salary. However, Peters received a better offer from the New York Raiders (Raiders). The Metropolitan Hockey Club, Inc. (Metropolitan) (defendant) owned the Raiders. When Peters agreed to play for the Raiders instead of the Islanders, Nassau sued both Peters and Metropolitan. Nassau sought an injunction to prevent Peters from playing for the Raiders.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Neaher, J.)

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