Thompson Rivers University

Law students compete in national hockey arbitration competition

March 28, 2023

From left to right: Bo Lewis and Januel Ibasco

Two TRU Law students got as far as the quarter finals of this year’s national Hockey Arbitration Competition of Canada (HACC) held in Toronto in mid-March. Bo Lewis and Januel Ibasco won the preliminary rounds and advanced to the quarter-finals on the second day, as they competed alongside teams from 16 law school, including American law schools such as Rutgers University and the University of Denver.

Lewis and Ibasco were the third team in TRU Law history to advance to the quarter-final stage of the HACC. The event was hosted by the Sports and Entertainment Law Society at U of T’s Faculty of Law. HACC is a unique event that provides law students from across the country the opportunity to advance their written and oral advocacy skills within the specialized context of mock National Hockey League (NHL) salary arbitration proceedings.

Coaches for this year’s team were TRU alumni Tiana Reid, Dylan Taylor and Michael Geib.

Each team was assigned three actual NHL arbitration-eligible players from the summer of 2022 and represented either the player or hockey club in three preliminary rounds of arbitration hearings. The three players selected for this year’s competition were Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse, Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto and Anaheim Ducks forward Isac Lundeström. TRU’s team represented the team side for the Arizona Coyotes regarding Lawson Crouse and the NHL Players Association for Kailer Yamamoto and Isac Lundeström. Teams then exchanged briefs and prepared oral arguments for a hearing in front of experienced arbitrators.

Team TRU received valuable feedback from an experienced panel of arbitrators and judges in the sports industry. Notable arbitrators at the competition included Brandon Pridham (assistant general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs), Amir Torabi (director of legal and business affairs and legal counsel for the Toronto Blue Jays), Rand Simon (NHLPA certified agent), and numerous partners at national law firms in downtown Toronto.

Throughout the competition, the arbitrators recognized the strength of TRU’s written submissions and excellence in oral advocacy. The HACC provided the opportunity to gain insight into NHL salary arbitration, sport and entertainment law, and the chance to meet professionals working in the NHL industry.

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