Report: NHL dismisses neutral arbitrator who reduced Wideman’s suspension


James Oldham, the neutral arbitrator that reduced Dennis Wideman’s suspension from 20 games to 10, has been dismissed by the NHL, according to SportsBusiness Daily’s Liz Mullen.

The dismissal should come as no surprise, given the NHL’s response to Oldham’s ruling.

“We believe that Arbitrator Oldham, in reaching his decision, exceeded his contractual authority by failing to properly apply the parties’ collectively bargained standard of review,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in June.

Daly’s remark was made after the NHL sued the NHLPA in an effort to vacate Oldham’s decision and restore Wideman’s original 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson. That suspension was upheld by commissioner Gary Bettman on first appeal, before the appeal went to Oldham.

As noted by The Hockey News, the NHL had the right to dismiss Oldham. A neutral arbitrator must be acceptable for both sides, and clearly he wasn’t anymore.

Related: On Wideman suspension, NFL refs stand with their NHL brethren