Former Head of MLBPA Donald Fehr To Be Named NHLPA Executive Director

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Former Head of MLBPA Donald Fehr To Be Named NHLPA Executive Director
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Reports out of Toronto have Donald Fehr, the former head of the Major League Baseball Players' Association, being named executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association. 

The NHLPA has been without an executive director since Paul Kelly was fired in August 2009. The Union has not had stable long-term leadership since Bob Goodenow resigned in 2005.

The tenure of Goodenow's replacement, Ted Saskin, ended abruptly after it was alleged that he had been reading private emails that NHL players had exchanged using the NHLPA website.

While employers are usually legally allowed to read the emails of employees, Saskin was, in fact, the employee of the NHLPA, serving at the pleasure of the union members. 

The NHLPA executive board voted unanimously to remove Saskin from their employ in 2007. He had been on the job for two years.

Saskin's replacement was Paul Kelly. He ran afoul of NHLPA ombudsman Eric Lindros, who resigned due to issues with Kelly's leadership.

The resignation of Lindros was the beginning of the end for Kelly. He was fired after less than two years on the job. No concrete reason was ever given as to why Kelly was let go.

The naming of Fehr to the position of executive director is no surprise, as he has been acting as an unpaid adviser for the NHLPA since November.

Fehr is seen as a tough negotiator, and with the current NHL collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiring after the 2011 season, he may be the perfect person to lead the NHLPA in the next round of negotiations.

As the head of the MLBPA, he led the players through the strike of 1994-1995. Fehr is no stranger to contentious negotiations, and he will not be intimidated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

With Fehr across the table from Bettman, the next round of CBA negotiations could prove to be very interesting.

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