SBD/Issue 51/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NHLPA Reportedly Requesting Information On Campbell E-Mails

NHLPA Looking Into
Campbell E-Mails

The NHLPA has responded to NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell's e-mail communications to former Dir of Officiating Stephen Walkom by "issuing a formal request for all information relating to the matter," according to Larry Brooks of the N.Y. POST. A source said that the Campbell e-mails "have provoked numerous calls to the Players' Association office from players seeking answers and expressing their concern over the issue, which has raised further questions about the league's approach to officiating and supplementary discipline." The union "intends to conduct as thorough a review as possible -- not only of the e-mails, but of the NHL's handling of the matter." In addition, the NHLPA has been in "constant fact-checking mode with the league regarding the problematic ownership situation in Dallas, as well as on a variety of day-to-day issues." However, it is the "matter of supplementary discipline as currently handled by the NHL under the current CBA that has galvanized the PA." The union is "certain to negotiate for changes to the system in the next CBA, including the appeals process, which is currently the province of the commissioner" (N.Y. POST, 11/21). 

HEADED BACK TO COURT: In N.Y., Klein & Hackel noted the court case that got Campbell "in trouble for vitriolic e-mails just will not go away." Lawyers for Dean Warren, an NHL referee who "lost his wrongful-termination case before the Ontario Labor Relations Board," said that they will "soon apply for a judicial review of the decision." Jordan Atin, one of Warren's lawyers, said that an "application for judicial review would be made in the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice." The possibility of judicial review "raises the prospect of renewed scrutiny of Campbell's e-mails, which first came to light as evidence in 2009 and 2010 hearing on Warren's case" (NYTIMES.com, 11/20).

TIME TO GO? In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote under the header, "E-mail Message Is Clear: Hit 'Delete' On Campbell." Dupont: "This is no longer a matter of decisive moves not made, rulebooks in need of revision and clarity, e-mails that certify prejudices. This is about a league leadership’s conscience and its need to let owners, managers, players, media, and paying customers know that wrongs will be righted and all questions will be removed, with courage and with conviction" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/21). SI.com's Jim Kelley noted the situation has "created a problem of perception, and perception problems have long been real thorns for the NHL." The league is "good at stonewalling, but this matter isn't likely to go away soon." If Campbell "gets hit with enough inside-outside pressure, he could find himself out" (SI.com, 11/19). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote, "The NHL's disciplinary duties ought to be handled by a multi-person panel. If the league wants fewer of its verdicts to be questioned, adding more official voices to the process is absolutely crucial" (THN.com, 11/18). However, on Long Island, Arthur Staple wrote, "Calls for Campbell to be replaced by some sort of tribunal or committee might not work, as hearings need to be held quickly and judgments issued in a timely matter." Staple: "Campbell has the toughest job in the NHL, perhaps in all sports, and he has executed it well" (NEWSDAY, 11/21).

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