Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/27/05 at 11:08 AM ET
Eight days after the NHL announced last fall that it was locking out its 700-plus players, the head of one of the world's largest unions quietly contacted NHL players association boss Bob Goodenow with an intriguing offer. In a two-page letter sent to the union on Sept. 24, 2004, Teamsters president James P. Hoffa wrote that his powerful union was willing to help the players put more pressure on NHL team owners such as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Maple Leafs and basketball's Raptors. "The BT (Brotherhood of Teamsters) stands willing to support the NHLPA's fight for fairness," Hoffa wrote in his letter to Goodenow, which was obtained by the Star. Two months passed before Goodenow responded to Hoffa's letter and when he did phone one of the union's top Canadian officials, Goodenow's reply was terse, a Teamsters official said. "He just said `thanks but we're ok with where we're going,'" said Larry MacDonald, president of Teamsters Local 938 in Toronto. "I've been around 25 years and I've never seen such a lackadaisical approach to collective bargaining," MacDonald said. "We had members who would have been ready to picket Raptors games in Toronto and we have members in the U.S. who would have come up with a strategy to pressure companies like Disney (which until this year owned the Anaheim Mighty Ducks). This is our business."
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