While a lot of the players in the NHL are gearing up for the free agency madness that awaits the league on Thursday, all of the players are still looking for someone who can help lead their union. One name that’s been tossed around a lot lately is former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Union Donald Fehr. Anyone who followed baseball at all during the mid-90s knows Fehr’s name all too well as he was one of the main figures when the World Series was canceled in 1994 due to a labor dispute.
With that kind of track record, fans have every reason to worry, especially when the NHLPA is completely devoid of leadership and the players will be seeking to get a big victory over the owners when it’s time to re-negotiate the collective bargaining agreement in 2012. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell discusses why it could be Fehr that sees the NHL players through that process.
Fehr has been instrumental in almost all aspects of the NHLPA’s affairs the past couple of months. Not only is he leading the rewrite of the union’s constitution and heading up the search committee for a new executive director – can anyone say conflict of interest? – but he has spent the past several months impressing the daylights out of everyone connected with the union.
The NHLPA is in desperate need of a guiding hand to help make their union stronger, especially after they fired Paul Kelly from the executive director position last year and has seen an incredible amount of tumult and in-fighting over the years. One set of names that Campbell mentions for potential future executive directors are Chris Chelios and Mathieu Schneider. Players leading the players with a strong hand would be seemingly unprecedented as they’ve been more apt to take each other down than build each other up.
If it’s Donald Fehr they decide to tap as an interim executive director, at least to see them through the next collective bargaining agreement, it might be wise for fans to really sit back and enjoy the next two seasons of the NHL because the future could turn out to be dreary with the owners looking for even better cost certainty and the players looking to not “lose” to the owners again.