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Saskin's future could be decided on Sunday night conference call

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The board, comprised of player representatives from all 30 NHL teams as well as the seven-member interim executive committee, will deliberate on allegations that NHLPA executives monitored private player e-mails - charges that reportedly drew the attention of Toronto police.

"The NHLPA will be conducting an executive board conference call on Sunday evening. The NHLPA will not be making further comment on the pending call," the NHLPA said Thursday in a statement.

Saskin, whose contract is reportedly worth US$10 million over five years, issued a statement Monday saying no illegal activity has gone on at the NHLPA.

The 30 players reps, who include Detroit Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios, could vote to fire Saskin. That would require 16 of the 30 votes. Only the player reps will get a vote.

Saskin, who first joined the NHLPA in 1992, replaced Bob Goodenow as executive director on July 28, 2005, a move that ignited protests from Chelios and former executive committee member Trent Klatt, now retired as a player.

The dissident group alleges proper procedure wasn't followed in Saskin's hiring. And the e-mail controversy could prove to be the final straw in Saskin's tumultuous reign as union leader.

The anti-Saskin faction has grown in numbers over the last two seasons, thanks in part to Chelios' dogged efforts.

The veteran defenceman has never waivered, despite failed attempts to use the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. National Labor Relations Board, as well as a failed lawsuit directed at Saskin, Linden and other former executive committee members.

Chelios convinced player reps to approve hiring Toronto lawyer Sheila Block in late January to conduct an internal review of the NHLPA and look into the hiring of Saskin. That move needed approval from the player reps on their last conference call. Block's review is slated to be completed by early summer.

Members of the current executive committee - Mathieu Schneider of the Red Wings, Kevyn Adams of the Phoenix Coyotes, Alyn McCauley of the Los Angeles Kings, Wade Redden and Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators and Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars - won't have a vote Sunday night because they're acting in an interim capacity.

President Trevor Linden stepped down last summer and has yet to be replaced.

The turmoil within the union ranks follows a contentious labour agreement that saw the union yield to a salary cap.


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