While lockout-wounded hockey fans probably still tremble at the name Bob Goodenow, Donald Fehr is the name bandied about as the player’s union figurehead during Major League Baseball’s hugely damaging strike.
So seeing that (in)famous name connected to the NHL Players Association is like a professional wrestler hearing The Undertaker’s music.
I’m not sure if this is really good news or not, but The Hockey News reports that Fehr will remain in a significant role with the NHLPA, although he supposedly won’t be the new executive director of the union. At least not just yet.
Members of the NHL Players’ Association spent the past two days discussing a structural change that will almost certainly see Donald Fehr remain as a senior consultant to work with the new executive director of the union.
As first reported by THN.com, Fehr has indeed decided he wants to retain an active role with the NHLPA and will almost certainly be front and center during the next round of negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. He will not be the executive director, but he will guide the new person for the next several years.
The two leading candidates for the executive director’s job are sports labor expert Doug Allen and former assistant executive director of the NFLPA David Faher.
Robyn Regehr (the Calgary Flames player representative) said that the union is hoping to have its new executive director in place by training camp. Regehr also says that the union wants to have a potential new “structure” in place by then. Can they get their act together within the next two months? It won’t be easy.
It’s been a bumpy ride for the union, as they went through all kinds of problems transitioning through Ted Saskin, Paul Kelly and Ian Penny as leaders.
You can’t blame the players’ association for wanting a strong, stable leader. Still, you can’t blame hockey fans and observers for being profoundly frightened by the mere name Donald Fehr, either. This situation is far from over (honestly, would you be that surprised if Fehr ends up being the executive director by the end?), so we’ll keep you up to date as details surface.