Healy resigns from NHLPA, Penny responds

Darren Dreger
9/3/2009 8:02:51 PM
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Glenn Healy has resigned as Director of Player Affairs of the NHLPA, saying his credibility was undermined by an internal report and comments by Interim Executive Director Ian Penny, including criticism of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, at the weekend Chicago meeting that resulted in Executive Director Paul Kelly's firing.

In a letter of resignation submitted today, a copy of which was obtained by TSN, Healy said an Office Health Assessment report "indicated that I have misled the players and do not tell them the full truth.  These accusations were made because of comments that I have made to players, in particular about Wayne Gretzky and his contributions and personal sacrifices for the Players' Association.  When Wayne Gretzky joined our Group Licensing Agreement in 1992, it made the Players' Association millions of dollars, has allowed the PA to stand on its own, and allowed every player to prosper.

"Ian Penny, your Interim Executive Director and General Counsel, openly disagreed with my defence of Wayne Gretzky and proceeded to openly criticize Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in front of the Executive Board, Advisory Board, Players' Association employees, the Ombudsman, and the great man who started this very association, Ted Lindsay.  I would never and have not misled or told any untruths to any player.  I cannot sit back and continue to perform my duties when my Players' Association co-workers unjustifiably impugn my credibility in front of the players I represent and fire shots against Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, two of the greatest players in the game, who have benefited every player in this Players' Association."

Asked for comment, Penny denied Healy's assertions: "Glenn Healy was hired by Paul Kelly to work at the Players' Association and we respect his decision to resign now that Mr. Kelly has been relieved of his duties. There is no merit to Glenn's claim that I was critical of the contributions that Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux made to the NHLPA.  I have the utmost respect for what both players contributed as union members and as two of the sport's greatest stars.  It is unfortunate and disappointing that Glenn took my comments out of context.  Based on the timing it appears that this was part of a strategy to deflect attention from today's media reports concerning Paul Kelly's conduct."

It was reported in multiple media outlets Thursday, including the Globe and Mail and The Sporting News, that Kelly allegedly may have read a confidential transcript from a players-only meeting. The reports suggested this alleged conduct played a large role in Kelly's dismissal.

In Healy's letter of resignation, he concluded, "Based on what occurred in the Executive Board Meeting in Chicago, including the presentations made, all of which were accepted and endorsed by the Executive Board, my reputation and credibility with the players has been irreparably harmed and compromised.  I can no longer continue to move forward believing that I have the trust of the players."

Penny is the fourth person acting as NHLPA Executive Director in the last four years, succeeding Bob Goodenow, Ted Saskin and Paul Kelly.

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