The possibility of having Donald Fehr take over as the leader of the NHL Players Association just got one step closer to happening today. The NHLPA announced that they’ve endorsed Fehr to the members of the union and now it’ll be put to a vote as to whether or not to approve and appoint him to the position. From the NHLPA release:
The recommendation to appoint Fehr as Executive Director will next be submitted to the full NHLPA membership for consideration, along with various amendments to the NHLPA Constitution that were approved by the Executive Board earlier this summer. The Executive Director and Constitution membership votes are expected to conclude following individual team meetings that will take place during training camp and the first part of the regular season, and Fehr’s appointment will not become official until that time. In the interim, Fehr will continue to assist the NHLPA as a consultant.
“The Search Committee is pleased that the Executive Board has endorsed our recommendation to select Don Fehr as our new Executive Director and we look forward to our fellow members voting on this important matter,” said Mathieu Schneider.
“I am gratified by the Executive Board’s vote, and I look forward to meeting all the Players at team meetings which begin later this month,” said Fehr.
The NHLPA’s executive board includes Mathieu Schneider, Brian Rolston, Ryan Getzlaf, Brian Rafalski, and Jamie Langenbrunner and they’re the guys that had to make the full-on endorsement of Fehr. How much pull each of those guys have in talking with their teammates and union cohorts remains to be seen and is what will make the final vote on this interesting.
A splintered, majority approval would be the sort of thing to show Fehr exactly what he’s dealing with whereas a unanimous-ish kind of vote would show the kind of strength and unity not seen before amongst the NHLPA members. Obviously for fans there’s a lot of ominous feelings about Fehr potentially becoming the NHLPA’s go-to guy. Fans are still smarting from the NHL lockout of 2004-2005 and bringing in the guy that helped Major League Baseball cancel the World Series in 1994 does nothing to ease those thoughts.
Of course, no one remembers immediately that Fehr helped the MLBPA and MLB piece together an agreement in 2002 that’s helped MLB and the players become financial behemoths in the sports world. If Fehr can step in and help reach an accord with the NHL on par with that agreement, both sides will be rushing to build a statue in honor of Fehr.