TORONTO – The NHL’s competition committee got a face lift Monday.
Brian Campbell of the San Jose Sharks, Jeff Halpern of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Mathieu Schneider of the Anaheim Ducks and Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators have been selected by the executive board of the NHL Players’ Association as the new player representatives on the committee.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Spezza told The Canadian Press on Monday. “Any time you can help better the game, it’s pretty exciting to be involved in something like that. It’s a good chance to have a little input and get involved a little bit in the ‘PA. And that’s probably the best capacity for me to get involved with the ‘PA is to do game-related stuff, which I feel most comfortable with.
“I’m looking forward to the responsibility.”
The five new players, who will serve two-year terms, replace Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings, Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames, Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks and Brendan Shanahan of the New York Rangers – who had served since the committee’s inception after the NHL lockout. Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils was also an original member but quit last year and was never replaced.
“The outgoing players on the committee deserve a great deal of gratitude for the work they have done to improve our game over the last three seasons,” Paul Kelly, the NHLPA’s executive director, said in a statement. “The NHLPA is looking forward to our newest members representing their fellow players on this important committee.”
The NHL’s representatives on the committee remain the same at this point: GMs Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens, Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers, David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Don Waddell of the Atlanta Thrashers and owner Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The next competition committee meeting will take place June 13 in Toronto. By then it’s possible the NHL will have new members as well.
“We will review our present status with our group before the next competition committee meeting in June,” Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, said Monday.
Campbell and NHLPA ombudsman Eric Lindros participate in the competition committee meetings but do not have voting rights.
The committee was formed in the new collective bargaining agreement as a joint effort to come up with recommendations to improve the game. The committee’s findings get sent to the NHLPA’s executive board (the 30 player reps) and then to the NHL’s board of governors (owners).
“There’s a lot of interesting things I’m sure we’ll talk about this year,” said Spezza. “After the changes they made coming out of the lockout, I think there’s pressure to make sure we make the right decisions, too.”