SBD/Issue 51/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Donald Fehr's Work With NHLPA Creating Optimism Among Players

Fehr Aiding NHLPA In Search For New 
Executive Director
Outgoing MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr is working with the NHLPA in an advisory capacity, and his “presence has generated some optimism among the players that he can turn around” the hockey union, according to Jeff Klein of the N.Y. TIMES. For a union “riven by dispute, the benefit of Fehr’s presence seems to be the one thing most parties agree on.” Hockey agent Jay Grossman said the NHLPA “would be lucky to get someone like Don Fehr, given the position that they’re in.” However, Rangers G and player rep Steve Valiquette said, “He made it clear to us from the outset that he’s not interested in the job.” Klein notes Fehr “has long advised the NHLPA, having been brought in” by former General Counsel Ian Penny. Fehr “has also been part of the working association that has existed for several years among the heads of the baseball, hockey, football and basketball players unions,” but his current work with the NHLPA is “far more extensive than any previous relationship he has had with the organization.” First on Fehr’s "docket is the search for a new executive director" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23).

POWER PLAY: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin notes hockey agent and former NHLPA Associate Counsel Ian Pulver appeared on the CBC’s "Hotstove" segment on "Hockey Night In Canada" on Saturday and "offered motherhood opinions about players needing to decide for themselves" the future of the union. He said, "It’s a players’ association, not an agents’ association." But Pulver’s fellow panelists on the show -- Mike Milbury and Pierre LeBrun -- "were not buying the blandishments on Pulver’s neutrality" over former NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly. Both “confronted him on his allegiance to the Ian Penny faction which has recently exited the PA after its failed purge this fall.” Meanwhile, former NHLPA Ombudsman Buzz Hargrove last week “was served with papers from the PA demanding the return of any and all confidential information in his possession and to cease and desist commenting on matters of confidentiality” (, 11/23).

JOINING THE RUSH: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote recently-retired NHLer Brendan Shanahan “would be a tremendous addition to the PA, especially now that the players have begun to reshape the union’s constitution.” The union’s “need has never been greater for a smart, respected, high-profile player to come aboard in a position of weight and authority” (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/22).

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