Multiple reports are suggesting that one reason Paul Kelly was fired as executive director of the NHLPA earlier this week was that he may have read a confidential transcript from a players-only meeting.
Privacy has been a sensitive issue for the players, especially since Kelly's predecessor, Ted Saskin, was alleged to have monitored private player emails.
The allegations about Kelly were reported Thursday by the Globe and Mail and the Sporting News. The Globe and Mail said that one executive board member reached for comment would not confirm the report, but also did not deny it.
"The players have agreed not to say anything," was the only comment offered.
Kelly was adament in denying that he had misused his office an issued a statement later in the day.
"I cannot stand by and allow this false and misleading attack on my character and reputation," Kelly stated. "I spent almost 10 years as a federal prosecutor, prosecuting numerous cases pertaining to fraud and dishonesty, including one involving a former NHLPA executive director. My personal ethics and reputation are beyond reproach.
"All of these stories, whether anonymous or by those seeking to protect their individual interests, intend to defame my reputation and good name. They not only harm me, but do harm to the reputation of the over 700 hockey players who make our sport the best in the world."
The Sporting News reported that NHLPA Ombudsman Buzz Hargrove presented evidence of Kelly's alleged transgression, but he would not confirm that suggestion. A source told The Sporting News that Kelly had allegedly asked an NHLPA employee to help him access the sealed transcripts.
Kelly was fired early Monday after 22 months on the job.