Sunday, September 11, 2005

NHLPA Divisions May Go To Court

As I wrote on Monday the NHLPA is divided (even at the leadership level) about the way Ted Saskin was brought in as NHLPA head. According to NHLPA rules, the NHLPA should be nominated by the NHLPA executive and elected by secret ballot, however in Saskin's appointment, they circumvented this by appointing him with a conference call. It is believed that this was done to make the process easier and not have to worry about the "bitterness" some players still hold over the lockout that washed out last season and the pro-owner CBA that was subsequently agreed upon.

The Toronto Star is reporting that this division is likely to get worse. A group of players, led by Trent Klatt of the Los Angeles Kings, have hired a lawyer Bob Lanza, who is a former chief counsel to the National Basketball Association Player's Association, to consider challenging Saskin's appointment in court. These players want the formation of a search committee where Saskin is one of several candidates, much as was done in Bob Goodenow's appointment.

This division will further weaken the NHLPA and eventually may lead to NHLPA decertification. In the end, decertification may not be such a bad thing, if there is no union to agree to pro-owners CBAs, then the players will be held to the same labor laws as those in other businesses and this would probably put the players in a better situation then they are now.

NOTE: On Monday, Trent Klatt announced his retirement. TSN's story is here. It is interesting that he is still fighting this battle when he is no longer an active player.

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