Road to Fehr becoming NHLPA head likely to begin Monday

The coronation of Donald Fehr as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association could receive a significant boost during a conference call Monday afternoon.

It would mean Fehr, who has been an unpaid advisor with the NHLPA for months and has been coy about his intentions for the top job, could become an official candidate and the frontrunner for the job as early as Monday.

It’s possible during the call the search committee will formally submit Fehr’s name for the vacant executive director’s job and recommend that he be hired. The executive committee, which is comprised of the 30 player representatives, would then hold a vote on whether or not to put the matter to a ratification vote of the full membership during training camp.

In order for the vote to go to all the players, two-thirds of the player reps on the conference call would have to approve, something that is expected to happen. It’s also expected the players will discuss how the votes among members will be counted, whether or not each player’s vote will count individually or whether each team will vote on Fehr’s candidacy based on the results of the vote among its players.

The search committee – which consists of Brian Rafalski of the Detroit Red Wings, free agent Mathieu Schneider, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Brian Rolston and Jamie Langenbrunner of the New Jersey Devils – have long supported the notion of the NHLPA hiring Fehr through the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Rafalski, in particular, has been vocal among players in his support for Fehr.

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The executive committee has had formal interviews with several candidates, two of which are believed to be player agent and former NHL goalie Mike Liut and former New York Ranger goalie Mike Richter.

Fehr revealed his terms of employment on a conference call last week and it has been reported that some of the players had concerns about things such as his request for a $3 million salary, the possibility he could use his brother Steve as outside legal counsel and the fact that he’d prefer to do the job out of New York instead of at the NHLPA’s headquarters in Toronto.

One person with knowledge of last week’s call said Calgary Flames player representative Robyn Regehr was the only player who vocalized his concerns and he has apparently spoken to Fehr since then and had many of his concerns allayed.

Should Fehr’s name be put forward as the candidate, it’s expected the voting would be conducted during training camp. That could put Fehr in the top job by the start of the regular season.