NHLPA's board appoints committee to review constitution

Darren Dreger
11/12/2009 3:32:32 PM
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A committee has been formed to review and very likely rewrite the National Hockey League PA's constitution.

Dallar Stars goaltender Marty Turco, Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, along with Florida Panthers forward Dominic Moore and Buffalo's Steve Montador have been appointed by the PA's executive board to conduct a thorough study of the union's constitution, as well as determine any necessary changes.

Sources say the group of four will begin their work in the very near future, a project one NHL player says will be the first step in the rebuilding of a strong union.

It's believed the committee will identify alleged problem areas in the existing constitution, such as the advisory board and whether this level of management is necessary.

The structure of the ombudsman and the six divisional player representatives the position of ombudsman oversees is also expected to get revisited.

If the role of the ombudsman is deemed an important entity, should that person be a former player, or a professional with no past ties to the players association?

This will be up to the committee to decide.

General Counsel, a position occupied until recently by Ian Penny, will also be reviewed.

Sources say the current constitution dictates General Counsel reports to the executive board and is not managed by the unions executive director, which some believe creates two power centres.

Discussion will take place on whether it makes more sense to have future counsel report to both the executive board and executive director.

Currently, the NHLPA is governed by the 30 player executive board. It's believed the committee will discuss the possibility of returning to a more conventional structure, whereby a union president and team of vice-presidents would be re-introduced to deal with issues that may not require the participation of the entire executive board.

Quorum levels are also expected to attract some attention based on the fact players schedules make it difficult to reach quorum to vote or make decisions on conference calls.

Presently, 25 players and 20 votes in favour are required before a vote is passed.

The four-member committee is expected to determine whether those numbers should be lowered.

Reviewing, and potentially rewriting, the NHLPA constitution is an enormous undertaking and will very likely involve outside counsel, as well as input from a variety of professional sources to complete.

In the meantime, the executive board has voted in favour of bringing MLB executive director Don Fehr into the NHLPA.

Fehr will assist all committees and will occupy an advisory role with the union.

''After discussions with its Executive Board, I have agreed to assist the NHLPA committees established to review the union Constitution and to begin the process of finding a new Executive Director,'' Fehr said in a statement. '' Hopefully, my experience at the MLBPA will be of help as the NHLPA members consider the reorganization of their union.''

Meanwhile, the selection process to fill the search committee, challenged with compiling a list of candidates for the executive directors job is also well underway and the committee of players is expected to be named soon.

Marty Turco (Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
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