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SBD/Issue 241/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Paul Kelly "Stunned And Saddened" By His Dismissal From NHLPA
Published September 2, 2009
|Kelly Will Wait Until Later This Week
To Give His Interpretation Of His Ouster
LOOKING AHEAD: Maple Leafs D and Exec Board member Garnet Exelby yesterday said that the NHLPA will have "much more resolve and unity" when the current CBA expires. The current deal expires after the '10-11 season, with the union holding an option to extend it for one more year, and Exelby said, "I don't think anyone is planning for a work stoppage. But we definitely intend to hold together and stay strong." He added, "The last time we gave up a lot. I think it's a fair statement that ownership got what it wanted in the last agreement. We definitely have a problem with the escrow issue." In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger notes some believe that Kelly's "warm relationship with the league was one of the many factors that led to his dismissal." Exelby: "We need a strong leader. We need to find someone who understands we are in charge, someone who understands decisions go through us" (TORONTO SUN, 9/2). But former NHLPA Dir of Business Relations Vincent Damphousse yesterday said that the union's next leader "must be free to work and make decisions without the fear of being fired at any moment." Damphousse: "For the new guy coming in, the players need to let him work. There was maybe too much leeway before and now it's like the guy is in handcuffs. He's got to be able to work with confidence." Kelly's successor will be the union's fourth Exec Dir in five years, in addition to Bob Goodenow, who left in '05, and his replacement Ted Saskin. Damphousse: "A lot of players and even people within the office want someone who is like Bob a bit -- more of a iron fist and being confrontational with the league. I feel it's much better to work with the league" (CP, 9/1).
CRUEL, CRUEL SUMMER: In Montreal, Pat Hickey writes the NHL "desperately needs to create a buzz on the ice, because it's coming out of a summer-long public-relations disaster." In addition to Kelly's dismissal, the NHL "continues to wrestle with the future" of the Coyotes, while the "latest hot spot is Tampa Bay," where Lightning co-Owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules are feuding. In addition, the league's TV deal with Versus "continues to bite the NHL" as DirecTV this week "pulled the plug on Versus in a dispute over carriage fees" (Montreal GAZETTE, 9/2).