October 28, 2010
Usually when any of us sign a contract or an agreement, we've been conditioned to read everything, including the fine print so as to protect ourselves from future financial disputes, differences in work expectations and even loopholes within a collective bargaining agreement that allow salary caps to get exploited. OK, most of us haven't had to deal with that last one.
Tomas Bulik, now formerly of Yugra of the KHL, didn't worry about that because, well, he apparently didn't read the form that was placed in front of him last month because he didn't know the language. Bulik's agent, former NHL goaltender Andrei Trefilov, claims that what was represented as a document to help Bulik, a native of Slovakia, get a visa/work permit, turned out to be his release form.
"A month ago the club handed a paper to my client allegedly from the Federal Migration Service and asked him to sign it, saying that it was needed to obtain a visa. And today this paper surfaced again, and it turned out that it was about a mutual agreement to terminate a contract, which was an absolute shock to me and my client.
"We have already filed a complaint to the union and the KHL. I hope that the decision that will be made will contribute to restoring justice, otherwise the international reputation of our league will be undermined. If the team is going to lie to players, it has no place in our league."
Bulik told Hokej.sk what happened in his meeting with a Yugra official:
"I got injured in the third game of the season. When I came back to the team I was put on the fourth line. I didn't play much. I couldn't understand it because I was the best scorer in the preseason. And then coaches tell me that I have to talk to the club manager. He wanted me to sign papers regarding the termination of my contract. I refused.
"With me being present the club manager spoke with my agent. They were very loud. Then the manager started yelling at me pressuring me to sign the documents. I refused. Soon after that my agent called me and said that they have a document terminating the contract and my signature. I don't understand how it appeared there.
"I only put my signatures a month ago on papers to obtain a visa and some other documents. They were all in Cyrillic, that's why I don't know what they are about."
We imagine that Bulik has already purchased the Rosetta Stone language tapes just in case he ends up playing anywhere other than Slovakia in the future.
Last Friday, Bulik, who was pointless in seven games this season, was announced to have been cut from Yugra on the KHL's website. According to a KHL spokesman, the league has not received any complaint on the matter and therefore won't be commenting at this time.