SBD/January 25, 2011/People and Pop Culture

NHLPA Hires Richard Rodier As Lawyer, Economic Consultant

The NHLPA has hired RICHARD RODIER as a lawyer and economic consultant. The union also has hired COLIN A. CAMPBELL as Dir of Corporate Sponsorships and ROBERT DEGREGORY and MARIA DENNIS as Associate Counsels (NHLPA). The NATIONAL POST's Sean Fitz-Gerald writes Rodier's hiring "carries the faint scent of antagonism," as Rodier was the "man who led the charge against the league as a representative" for RIM co-CEO JIM BALSILLIE. It was Rodier "who often stood on the steps of that bankruptcy court in Phoenix two years ago, as Balsillie tried to pry the [Coyotes] from the league, and from the desert" (NATIONAL POST, 1/25). In Hamilton, Kevin McGran writes if NHLPA Exec Dir DONALD FEHR "wants to fire the first shot across the bow of the NHL in advance of the next round of collective bargaining negotiations, he couldn't have picked a better ally" than Rodier, the "biggest thorn in the side" of NHL Commissioner GARY BETTMAN since former NHLPA Exec Dir BOB GOODENOW. Rodier, who "will advise the NHLPA on league-related economic issues," has been described as an "agitator," a "tough negotiator" and a "henchman." He "rose to prominence as the right-hand man" to Balsillie "in his three failed attempts to buy an NHL team." They "first worked together to try to buy" the Penguins in '06, and Rodier was "again in the picture" when Balsillie pursued the Predators in '07. But the "coup de grace was Rodier's involvement in Balsillie's attempt to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes in bankruptcy court." Some believe that Rodier's "pit bull tactics are part of the reason the league rejected Balsillie as an owner" (Hamilton SPECTATOR, 1/25).
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