Kukla's Korner Hockey
TORONTO, ON (December 18, 2010) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that the full membership of the NHLPA has voted overwhelmingly to appoint Don Fehr as the new NHLPA Executive Director, following the Executive Board’s endorsement.
Fehr, 62, is the former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) where he worked for the players for 33 years, serving as Executive Director from 1983 until 2009.
“I am both humbled and honored by the expression of confidence that the players’ vote reflects,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the membership and the Executive Board.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHLPA has responded to VP Colin Campbell’s e-mail communications to former director of officiating Stephen Walkom—revealed early this week—by issuing a formal request for all information relating to the matter, Slap Shots has learned.
A well-placed source familiar with union activities has told us the Campbell e-mails have provoked numerous calls to the Players’ Association office from players seeking answers and expressing their concern over the issue, which has raised further questions about the league’s approach to officiating and supplementary discipline.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The long courtship of Donald Fehr by the NHL Players’ Association is coming to an end and the official announcement could come as early as Friday, according to an NHL source with close ties to the union….
Once Fehr takes office, his to-do list may not have a long number of tasks but each of them is time-consuming. Negotiations for a new collective agreement to replace the one that expires in 2012 is at the top of the list, followed by items like hiring a second-in-command who will be Fehr’s designated successor and revitalizing a membership beaten down by losing the lockout in 2005 and then getting slapped down on a regular basis by NHL owners and management.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Here, essentially, is the message presumptive NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has been presenting to the players during the autumn tour preceding union balloting: “Hire me to lead or don’t hire me at all.”
This, according to sources, is the ultimate condition of employment for Fehr, who has been selling nothing more than himself and his collective bargaining accomplishments as leader of the MLBPA throughout this low-key campaign that was borne as much out of a draft as a burning desire to go to the table (or the mat) one more time on behalf of professional athletes.
The PA will not operate as a democracy in collective bargaining. It can’t. It must give its leader the same authority as the NHL has given Gary Bettman. If not, the league simply will wait for the players’ house to divide and fall, as it did the last time. If not, the players might as well give in now and save everyone the aggravation when the CBA expires before 2012-13.
That’s the meaning of the message Fehr has been delivering to the players, who, we’re told, have been nothing but receptive to it.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
He could barely walk by the end. His ankles, knees and even shoulders ached so much from his hockey injuries that his friends had to help him in and out of vehicles. Then came the seizure that put him in the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre for three days.
That was enough for Walt Poddubny. He figured he had to do something. He was going to tell his story so that the NHL and its players would do more for those who helped the game grow and had stumbled on hard times.
Two months later, the former Toronto Maple Leafs forward and 40-goal scorer went to sleep in a bedroom in his sister’s home. He had split with his wife, couldn’t work because of the pain he endured and needed extensive surgeries. He closed the bedroom door and collapsed. He was likely dead before he hit the covers.
When 49-year-old Poddubny succumbed to a heart attack last year, his posthockey plight spoke of a man who had played hard and made good money for his time, but nowhere near what today’s NHL players receive. In that regard, he was hardly alone.
“He came and touched base with our whole team and kind of gave us the short-term plan for right now, for how the P.A. is going and how he sees himself taking over. That’s my third or fourth time talking to him, throughout the meetings and everything this summer. I’m real impressed. He has a pretty good presence about him, with his knowledge and experience, and I think that rubs off on the guys and makes the guys pretty excited about where this is going. I think everybody is real happy about him coming on board and helping us out.”
-Matt Greene, LA Kings union rep on Donald Fehr. Via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Just when you thought there was nothing more to learn about the NHL’s prosecution of Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils, Slap Shots can inform you that GM Lou Lamoriello was on the phone with NHLPA attorneys on the day the union and league were crafting the amendment to the CBA to allow for No. 17’s uncontested 15-year, $100 million contract registration.
Slap Shots has been told that the delay of approximately 12 hours in finalizing the agreement reached in the early hours of Sept. 4 was caused by the PA’s insistence that the Devils not be penalized with a loss of cap space for having been found guilty of circumvention by arbitrator Richard Bloch on the first Kovalchuk contract submission.
The NHL, we’re told, finally yielded after it became clear that the union, protecting up to $3 million of New Jersey’s potential payroll, was not going to surrender on the issue.
Somehow we doubt that Lamoriello will be spending much time badmouthing Donald Fehr over the next two years.
from David Shoalts and Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The record $3-million (U.S.) fine and the loss of first- and third-round draft picks levied against the New Jersey Devils as punishment for the first version of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract is all about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman delivering a hard message to owners and general managers: We warned you about trying to circumvent the salary cap, and these are the consequences.
There was also no coincidence in the timing of the announcement. It came on the eve of Tuesday’s board of governors meeting in New York because, according to an NHL source who requested anonymity, Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly wanted to make sure every team representative realized the new standard for player contracts recently negotiated with the NHL Players’ Association must be followed.
That was the nearly unanimous opinion of a group of NHL governors, GMs and player agents – all of whom requested anonymity because they did not want to provoke the ire of Bettman, who decreed there would be no official comment from the league. An equal number of governors and GMs declined to make any comment at all.
from Dan Goldman of the Messenger Post,
The Sports Consulting Group roster of players includes Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek and Team USA captain Jamie Langenbruner, as well as professional players from the Rochester area like Ryan Callahan, Brian and Stephen Gionta of Greece; Marty Reasoner of Honeoye Falls; and Chris Collins of Fairport.
Callahan, a forward for the New York Rangers, said deciding by whom to be represented was an easy decision, knowing Bartlett’s track record and having played hockey with his son Scott.
“With the amount of guys he has, it shows that he’s a great agent and he does well for us,” said Callahan.
“He’s a great guy, down to earth, he is everything you can ask for in an agent,” added Stephen Gionta, who plays in the New Jersey Devils minor league system. “He puts his own time and energy into every guy, no matter what level of play you’re at. You don’t always get that with the big companies.”
The Fehr-to-the-NHLPA saga seems to have been resolved, or has it? With the vote on accepting Fehr apparently going to the membership, most of the media coverage centred on Fehr’s fearsome reputation as at the Major League Baseball Players Association.
But key Fehr elements have been missed so far by the media. First, the supposedly implacable Fehr settled a collective bargaining agreement with MLB in 2002 without any work stoppage - and well before the eleventh hour. Second, we have yet to see the report commissioned by the NHLPA about Paul Kelly’s dismissal released to the press. Is Fehr’s role in the midnight massacre discussed? Before players vote, should they not see the contents of the report that was delayed at Fehr’s suggestion?
-Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail.
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