Deposed NHL Players’ Association executive director Paul Kelly wasn’t about to sit around and twiddle his thumbs while others decided his fate.
That’s why on Tuesday afternoon, Kelly will be named executive director of the newly formed College Hockey, Inc., an umbrella organization that will encompass the business aspects of the game for all Division I schools in the NCAA. Kelly will be responsible for a number of things, primarily raising the profile of college hockey in the United States.
“I am very pleased to undertake this exciting new venture,” Kelly said. “It will be a privilege to represent the many fine schools and elite athletes that play hockey on the college level here in the United States. College hockey not only grooms well-rounded future NHL stars, but it is essential to the overall growth of this great sport.”
Coincidentally, Kelly will also be the liaison between the NCAA and a number of other hockey bodies, including the NHL and NHLPA.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Kelly is finished with the NHLPA. First of all, there’s the matter of the association honoring the final year of his contract. Kelly signed a five-year deal and completed the first 21 months of it before he was fired. The last two years of the deal were one-year options at the players’ discretion, so Kelly is owed most of the third year of the deal, plus bonuses, which is valued at about $1.5 million.
That payout has not yet been settled, in part because Paul Cavalluzzo, the lawyer handling the case for the NHLPA, quit three weeks ago and there is nobody in the office to handle the case.