"That was the biggest scam job, execution, that I've ever seen in my life."
This was how Hockey Hall of Famer and former NHLPA builder Ted Lindsay described the evalution and subsequent firing of former NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly in an interview Thursday with TSN's Darren Dreger and Bill Watters on AM 640 Toronto Radio.
Lindsay was in Chicago last week for union meetings that resulted in Kelly's dismissal and, though he sat in on few of the discussions, said he was dismayed by what he did see.
"I was thinking, boy, this is really a crucifixion of Paul Kelly that's going on."
Lindsay said that when he was trying to get the players organized in the 1950's, the word "union" was a tough sell. Based on what he saw in Chicago, Lindsay said that notion has obviously changed.
"This was orchestrated, to me," Lindsay said, "with a particular thought of unionism and intimidation...to me, I say we're right back into the '67 era when (Alan) Eagleson was taking over. See, there's a lot of traits of Eagleson right here."
Lindsay agreed that veteran players would miss Kelly's leadership.
"He has been very good to the present day players, but he's also been very, very good to the alumni," Lindsay said. "He's had their goodwill at heart and their interests at heart."
When asked if he had heard anything about reports that have emerged about Kelly allegedly getting access to confidential documents from player meetings, Lindsay said he didn't know about it and could not offer any comment.
"Just understand that Paul Kelly is a class act," were Lindsay's final words on the matter.