NHLPA Exec Dir Fehr Brings Lessons From Years With MLBPA To Hockey
NHLPA Exec Dir DONALD FEHR has "won admirers over time for his candor, intelligence, doggedness as a negotiator and devotion to core principles, even when it wasn't necessarily a boon to his popularity quotient," according to a profile piece by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. After years of "instability, the NHLPA has added a bona fide cleanup hitter to its leadership hierarchy." What Fehr "lacks in schmooze-ability, he makes up for in determination." He knows from experience that "nothing undermines a sense of unity more than intellectually bullying the membership." That is a lesson he learned "from his mentor, MARVIN MILLER, and applied it" through 26 years with the MLBPA. Crasnick wrote with hockey's labor agreement scheduled to expire on Sept. 15, "we'll see if Fehr's message plays as well on ice as it did on grass and dirt." Fehr "brings welcome experience and direction to a hockey union that's been rudderless since BOB GOODENOW's resignation" in '05. Only Fehr knows "how much time and energy he's ready to commit to the process, but he certainly seems to be enjoying his involvement." Crasnick noted during a recent interview, he "sounded more relaxed and gregarious than the tightly wound baseball version of Donald Fehr." Asked about his objectives, Fehr said, "I want them to have that agreement, and begin a relationship with us to set the stage for other things in the years to come. I know that's sort of amorphous, but it's really the goal here" (ESPN.com, 3/21).