inners of eight of their past 10, the Leafs will be mindful

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Canadas largest private-sector union, which is trying to organize major junior hockey players across the country, is scheduled to meet on Monday with Ontarios minister of labour to discuss the working conditions faced in the Canadian Hockey League by its 1,700 mostly teenaged players. Puma Fenty By Rihanna . Jerry Dias, Unifors president, said he plans to ask Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to establish a task force charged with scrutinizing the business of junior hockey. Dias told TSN that when he met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne three weeks ago at Queens Park, Wynne brought up the issue of working conditions in junior hockey with him. Dias said Wynne told him she is interested in learning more about whether players get a fair share of the games profits. Flynns spokesman Craig MacBride declined to comment. Wynnes spokeswoman Zita Astravas said both the premier and Flynn have already met with Dias. Discussions covered a wide range of topics, she said. Unifor is an important partner and our government looks forward to a positive relationship with labour. Two years after a similar attempt to organize CHL players fizzled out, Unifor is trying again. The union, which represents about 300,000 workers in various industries, says major junior players are underpaid and exploited by the owners of junior teams that have become hugely profitable in recent years. The CHL says thats not true. Players dont receive more compensation because the leagues consider them student athletes, said CHL commissioner David Branch. Many players are also eligible for valuable scholarship programs when they finish playing junior hockey, he said in an interview. Dias said Unifor staff have spent the past few weeks trying to determine how governments in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- states where eight of the CHLs 60 teams play -- view major junior players. Canadian students who attend U.S. schools, such as the University of Michigan, obtain student visas to travel across the border. But NHL player agent Anton Thun said that since OHL players have P1 work visas, its unclear how Branch and other league officials can consider those players as student athletes. I dont profess to know the immigration laws, Branch said. I dont know what you need to facilitate a player playing in the U.S. Thun said the three major junior leagues in Canada are desperate to keep their player costs down at the same time as the leagues collective profits have surged. These leagues have gone from being mom and pop businesses in the 1980s to hugely profitable money-making private businesses that sell millions of dollars in tickets, hundreds of thousands of dollars in jerseys and sponsorships and TV rights. The truth is junior teams are no longer what they say they are. Most CHL teams are private companies and dont disclose their finances, though Branch said roughly one-third of teams lose money. He declined to provide any estimates on how much money cash-rich or cash-poor teams generate. The Kitchener Rangers, who are publicly owned, play in a city with a population of 219,000. In August 2013, the team reported total revenue of $6.2 million for the previous season, up from $5.6 million. The Rangers sold $470,000 worth of team merchandise alone. One of the lures of playing major junior hockey is the chance to earn a scholarship that can later go to pay for a players post-secondary education. The packages can add up to more than $40,000, depending on how long a player plays in the CHL. Thun said a union might help spur a discussion about simply paying players that money in cash. Why not just give it to them, and let them and their families decide whether to invest it, or spend it on a car, or something else that they want or need, Thun said. Branch, however, said the parents of players have been supportive of the scholarship packages, even though it expires if a player doesnt go to school within 18 months of their junior career. In a focus group of about 16 families of OHL players that was conducted five years ago, most parents said they supported the time limit, Branch said. What if the kids indiscriminately spend the money, what are they left with? Branch said. Parents have suggested there is a value to putting a framework in place to encourage players to go on to a post-secondary education. Branch said hes unsure what it might mean for teams if they were forced to begin paying a minimum wage to players. Unifors Dias said an average 40-hour work week adds up to about 2,000 hours a year. If players in Ontario were paid the minimum wage of $11 per hour for half the year, it would work out to about $11,000 per player, or at least $220,000 a year for each team. Its unclear how much teams now pay for players, but in recent years, the OHL paid players $55 a week. The league recently introduced new guidelines where teams re-imburse players for expenses instead of paying them a set weekly amount. Not everyone would embrace the concept of a union. Bob Stellick, a sports marketing executive whose son Robert played two years in the OHL, said many parents would shrug off the idea of a union. I dont think $50 a week really makes any difference for most families, said Stellick, whose Toronto company has produced public service announcements for the CHL. The key for parents is the type of experience their son gets. If the player doesnt play to family expectations, isnt drafted, gets traded once or twice, and doesnt complete high school, then yes the family would be sour. Award-winning journalist Rick Westhead is TSNs Senior Correspondent for TSNs platforms - TSN, TSN Radio, TSN.ca and TSN GO. He has covered a wide variety of sports issues for a slate of leading publications, among them the Toronto Star, Bloomberg News, Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, New York Times, and Saturday Night Magazine. Earlier this year, Westhead was part of a team that won the prestigious Project of the Year at the National Newspaper Awards. He was also honoured with the Toronto Stars Reporter of the Year Award in 2007. Share your comments with Rick Westhead on Twitter at @rwesthead. Puma Basket Heart Patent . The 19-year-old from Westmount, Que., was edged 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3 by third-seeded Alize Cornet of France. Cornet broke Bouchard twice in the last set and saved six break points in the three-hour match. Puma Creeper Velvet Danmark . Fielder ended 4-for-5 with a solo homer, while Avila was 4-for-4 with two runs scored for the Tigers, who put the brakes on a three-game skid and rebounded from a loss in Mondays opener. Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson both contributed two hits, an RBI and a run scored as Detroit maintained its healthy lead atop the AL Central. http://www.rihannacreepers.dk/puma-basket-heart-patent.html . Not that Durant cared. The only streak he cares about is still intact.TORONTO – Dave Bolland repeated himself to hammer home the point. "Fifty-fifty," he said of his odds to return before the Olympic break. "Fifty-fifty." Bolland, who took part in his first full practice Friday since returning to the ice, continues to inch back toward a return from a severed left ankle tendon, one that has kept him out of the Toronto lineup since Nov. 2 – a stretch of 41 games and counting. Whether he returns before the Leafs conclude their pre-Olympic schedule – they have four games left – is a matter of some uncertainty and will depend entirely on the state of his recovery. "Im not going to get back into it if Im not ready," said Bolland, joining the team for a brief 35-minute skate. "Theres no point in me getting back into it if Im not ready ... I dont want to be back in there and take a minus and be a liability out there. I want to be back and be 100 per cent." Bolland seemed to hint toward a target of Feb. 8, the teams final game before the Olympic break, giving him an opportunity to test the recovered area in a string of practices before potentially returning. "Well see," he said. "If Im ready then Im ready. If I feel that I can contribute out there in that last game. If not, then Ill take those two weeks to get back into it." "Theres no rush," added Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle. Puma Rihanna Danmark. "You always hope that you can get a player like that back [sooner]. "But to get back sooner when youre not ready is the wrong thing to do." Describing the rehab as "grueling" recently, the three-month recovery process has not been easy for the native of nearby Mimico, Ontario. Forced onto crutches and glued to a whole lot of Apple TV for a month after the injury, Bolland began skating in mid-January, joining the team for the first time earlier this week. A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, he was arguably Torontos best skater in October, totaling six goals and 10 points in 15 games. Winners of eight of their past 10, the Leafs will be mindful of not rushing him back, especially with the upcoming two-week layoff. "Its a long process coming back from an injury like that," said Joffrey Lupul. "I dont think anything is going to happen overnight, but yeah he looks good out there. I think for him its probably just increasing the workload a little bit every day. And its certainly not something you want to rush, especially with a couple weeks off here. We in the room want him back as soon as possible, but were going to need him at 100 per cent eventually so hopefully [the organization] take[s] the right course." 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