The NHL Players Association, the labour union representing the professional hockey players of the NHL, is close to naming a new executive director. The search committee for the NHLPA has recommended Donald Fehr for the position.
The next step will be for all NHLPA members to vote on whether to name Fehr executive director. Individual team meetings will take place during training camp later this month. It is expected that the vote will take place at the conclusion of the meetings.
The NHLPA search committee is comprised of players Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Rafalski, Brian Rolston, and Mathieu Schneider.
Fehr has been working with the NHLPA as an unpaid consultant since November 2009.
Fehr had this to say, “…when the players on the search committee asked me if I’d be willing to do this for a while I think I really began to focus on whether or not I though I could do a good job with it, whether I thought I’d enjoy working with the guys going forward and whether I’d like it. The answer to the those three questions turned out to be yes.”
Fehr, 62, has a great deal of sports union experience. He was the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association for 26 years before stepping down from that position in 2009.
If Fehr is voted to the position of executive director he will be busy from his first day forward. The collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA is set to expire on September 12, 2012 and Fehr will be counted on to steer the ship for the players in what could be a contentious negotiation.
During his tenure as executive director of the MLBPA Fehr had a reputation as a tough negotiator. He led the MLB players through a strike in 1994-1995 that saw the World Series cancelled for the second time ever.
While Fehr is willing to take the job he understands that his fate rests with the NHL players, stating, “It’s the players’ judgement to make.”