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NHLPA brings on MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr to help find Kelly replacement and draft new constitution

The embattled NHL Players’ Association is turning to one of the most respected and accomplished labor leaders in the history of professional sports to chart a course of action for its future.

Donald Fehr, who plans to retire in March 2010 as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, will serve as an advisor on both the search for a new executive director to replace Paul Kelly and to help draft a new constitution for the NHLPA.

Fehr, who has been executive director of the MLBPA since 1985, will have a large say in what future course the NHLPA takes after the most turbulent period in its history. He is said to be familiar with the NHLPA’s constitution and it is believed he feels it is far too unwieldy and restricting.

Given the fact Fehr is still officially with the MLBPA, it is unknown what the timeframe would be for the NHLPA executive director search or changes to the constitution.

There will certainly be major changes made to the constitution to allow the executive director the autonomy to do his job while still ensuring the players retain their rights.

As far as the current executive director is concerned, there was not a vote on the status of temporary interim executive director Mike Ouellet because there were not enough player representatives on a Sunday night conference call for there to be a quorum.

In order for there to be a vote on any matter, a total of 25 members of the executive board must vote and there were two games Sunday night, meaning the most that would have been available for a conference call would have been 26.

It’s believed there was also a discussion on the role and latitude given to the review committee consisting of veteran players Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mark Recchi and Rob Blake. Even though all the key players in the Kelly firing have either been dismissed or resigned, including interim ombudsman Buzz Hargrove who stepped down Sunday afternoon, the committee will still go ahead with its investigation.

However, some players, particularly those on the executive board, were concerned the review committee was overstepping its bounds when it announced Ouellet as temporary interim executive director and Roland Lee as interim general counsel. The review committee arbitrarily made that decision without consulting with the executive board.

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