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Loose Change: Paul, it's just not working out

It would be journalistically irresponsible to hypothesize the reasons behind the firing of NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly less than two years after he was proclaimed king of the men with ruptured knees and fake teeth. Luckily I’m completely devoid of all integrity in this regard so rampant shot-in-the-dark speculation makes perfect sense to me. You can’t compromise principles if you don’t have any.

So, let’s get started.

Why was Paul Kelly fired? Let’s spin the big wheel.

His hair? Compared to the three other former executive directors, Kelly is quite literally reminiscent of a Ken doll. One look at Kelly’s coiffe and you’ll swear you once saw him guest-starring on Magnum P.I. (as a bartender I believe). Compare that to Alan Eagleson, whose haircut was meant for radio, Bob Goodenow, with a mass of hair so polite it always let his massive forehead take center stage and Ted Saskin’s pot-scrubberish do.

Kelly had a comb and a purpose and that just isn’t (historically proven) executive director-type material.

His appearance? I’d imagine, back in high school, Kelly had something to do with the football team. He may not have been the starting quarterback, but he probably hung out with the guy. He just has those rugged good looks.

Not so for the other three.

You have to think that, back in high school, Goodenow was a narc, Saskin assisted the guy who ran the AV equipment and Eagleson was a trigonometry teacher secretly dating one of the cafeteria staff. Combined, they probably held up one wall at the high school dances (if they ever went). Thankfully it was dark.

His competence? Think about this: Until recently have you heard any complaints from the NHLPA rank and file about his leadership? Kelly ran a pretty tidy operation which made everybody – especially the NHL itself – look really bad. A bunch of jocks could hire someone with game show hair and unrivalled professionalism, yet the league fumbles away more opportunities than a running back with no thumbs.

While the NHL is well into the third act of a comedic tragedy known as the Phoenix Coyotes (complete with a laugh track), the Players’ Association goes merrily about its business counting the zeroes and collecting escrow and frankly, the league doesn’t like those comparisons. So the NHL goes about undermining the voting process by pushing the players out of the way (there’s precedent) and rigs the count to get Kelly fired even though he’s doing a fine job (despite the hair).

So, you’re thinking, this means Kelly’s dismissal is a heinous conspiracy orchestrated by the league to draw public attention away from its own continuing ineptitude? Hell yeah. I’m thinking they even have an inside man on the job. I mean, Ian “Penny?” Come on. If that ain’t a code name…

The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?

Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you Loose Change every second Tuesday. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.

Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at


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