Four days after passing a resolution to have NHL veterans Rob Blake, Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom and Mark Recchi conduct an extensive investigation of the NHL Players Association's recent business operations, the group sent out an e-mail to its members outlining their strategic plan.
''We have come through a period of considerable turmoil and dysfunction within the NHLPA,'' stated the e-mail obtained by TSN.
''It is our goal that everything we do now be focused on strengthening and unifying the Association as we move forward to ensure we are in a strong position to enter collective bargaining and conduct our day to day business with the NHL. This review will be conducted independently of those who have worked at the NHLPA during this embarrassing time for the Association.''
In addition to investigating why former executive director Paul Kelly was let go in August, the new four-man group will look at how internal e-mails were accessed by senior executives and how interim leader Ian Penny was able to negotiate a five-year, $3.5 million contract in June.
The e-mail stressed the importance of finding advisors who have had no previous relationship with any of the current staff or board members and said they will ask for confirmation in writing from everyone who is retained that they have no intention of seeking future positions within the Association.
''Initially, we are looking to retain independent legal and business advisors to assist us with this process,'' it read.
''Legal advice is essential to ensure we follow legal guidelines. As we move forward with our work, we will inform all of you of our recommendations, the scope of the review and the next steps. We intend to solicit the opinion of experienced business advisors to ensure that we can achieve our goal of an independent, unbiased review.''
The message also outlined their plans to hire outside counsel and a forensic auditor to review the NHLPA's books as part of its investigation.
''We will look to retain advisors who have had no previous relationship with any of our current staff, the Advisory Board, the Ombudsman or previous Ombudsman,'' the e-mail stated. ''We will also ask for confirmation in writing from everyone who is retained that they have no intention of seeking any future position within the Association.''
On Friday, player representatives from the 30 teams voted 25-5 in favour of passing a resolution to form the committee. The group will review the NHLPA's operations and submit its recommendations to the executive board.