Czech hockey federartion ratifies transfer agreement

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The Czech hockey federation
ratified a two-year agreement Thursday on transfers between the NHL
and European teams.

Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland also have
agreed while Russia has refused.

The deal regulates financial compensation and a limit on the
number of players that can leave Europe annually. It also imposes a
transfer deadline and assures participation of NHL players at the
2006 Turin Olympics.

The agreement Thursday was approved 9-1 by the Czech
federation's executive committee, said Zbynek Kusy, deputy head of
the federation.

The Czechs initially balked, saying the minimum compensation the
NHL pays to European federations to sign players is too low.
However, their 14 top clubs reversed their decision Aug. 16. The
minimum compensation for any draft pick is $200,000, Czech
officials said.