For fans, hockey writers and anyone outside of the process, the thought of Donald Fehr becoming the head of the NHL Players Association is a bit scary. If you ask Jim Kelley of Sports Illustrated, he’d probably tell you that the league’s players are just as frightened by the mere task of making a decision. Kelley backed up my feelings that the union is dragging its feet on the matter after a year (or, really, years) of turmoil.
Memo to members of the NHL Players Association 30-man executive committee:
Gentlemen, for the record, accepting a position of responsibility means doing something. Accepting a motion to bail on the opportunity to vote on whether to extend a contract offer to Donald Fehr as your designated leader is ducking the leadership issue.
There are plenty of $3 million-plus players in the NHL whose exploits on the ice don’t even begin to compare with the accomplishments the former head of the MLBPA has on his resume. If the players want the best available leader — and history shows that they need exactly that — they must make a decision and live with it.
Do they think someone else is going to do it for them?
It sounds like the 30 player representatives will have to bite the bullet before the weekend is over, though, at least if Larry Brooks of the New York Post is correct. Brooks posted an update on the union’s negotiations today on Twitter.
Post has learned that NHLPA ExecBoard is in process of voting on Don Fehr for ExecDir. Votes from plyr reps must be cast by 5 pm Saturday.
Then again, the players association has been such a mess that you almost have to take that deadline with a grain of salt.
Still, it’s a promising sign that the long dormant NHLPA is at least working its way out of a lengthy hibernation. If their goal is indeed to install Fehr as their executive director by the beginning of the 2010-11 season, then I think they’ll be in decent shape for the looming Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions. It hasn’t been a smooth process, though, that’s for certain.