Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Klatt et al Court Case Ruled Wrong Jurisdiction

A group of dissident NHL players led by Trent Klatt (and including Chris Chelios and Dwayne Roloson) are trying to sue the NHLPA. They claim that the way Ted Saskin replaced Bob Goodenow as NHLPA head during the 2004/05 lockout was against the NHLPA constitution. They are probably correct in these claims, as there was no formal vote by the union membership at this time.

The court case filed in Illinois has been thrown out claiming lack of jurisdiction. The courts claim the case would be better filed in Canada. This ruling will in no way stop Klatt and friends from continuing their legal challenge. Likely they will file in Canada and try to appeal this ruling in the US.

The American legal system is extremely slow. It took more than three and a half months to rule that the case had been filed in the wrong jurisdiction. I'm sure that the rest of the NHL season will be complete before we have any further legal ruling.

What are Klatt and his friends trying to accomplish? First they want acknowledgment that the way Ted Saskin was brought in and the lockout ended was handled illegally by the NHLPA. They want to keep this issue alive.

The NHLPA is a weak union. Most players are apathetic to its issues. Many young players are afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions from their team. When there is a serious problem in its history it can take years for it to come to conclusion (for example Alan Eagleson was guilty of several crimes against the players, but he remained NHLPA boss for a couple years after these details began to surface). They hope that eventually a groundswell of opposition against Ted Saskin will develop and it will lead to his ouster. Keeping this issue alive hopefully will plant the seeds of that movement.

This issue does not seem to go away and Ted Saskin deals with it by stalling and consolidating power in the NHLPA. Likely at some point, a challenger to Saskin will emerge that has the backing of Klatt, Chelios, Roloson etc. Then a battle will be fought. In the meantime with a weak, divided NHLPA, the NHL owners can push through anything they want without much challenge.

Here is the TSN article on the latest minor legal ruling.

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