Late Night Link: Top Agents, Chelios speak out against Kelly’s firing

Posted by David Minuk in Late Night Links on September 18, 2009 — No Comments

Just when you thought the situation with the NHLPA couldn’t get any crazier, word from TSN and the National Post would seem to suggest that Chris Chelios isn’t happy with the information he had, when he and the 30 player reps voted to have Kelly removed as head of the NHLPA.

From TSN’s Darren Dreger:

Reaction to Paul Kelly’s firing as executive director of the NHLPA continues, more than two weeks after his early morning dismissal in a Chicago boardroom.

NHL player agents J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson of CAA Hockey have tried to make sense of Kelly’s fall, specifically the process in which it unfolded, to help the players they represent understand the sudden change in union leadership.

However, Brisson and Barry who represent a number of NHL stars including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Dany Heatley, Daniel Briere and Mats Sundin, plus NHLPA executive board members, Robyn Regehr, Shawn Horcoff and Maxime Talbot, believe the “process” in which Kelly was fired was flawed.

The veteran player agents today issued a statement, outlining their concerns.

“We have had numerous discussions with our clients and other players around the League regarding the dismissal of Paul Kelly as Executive Director of the NHLPA.  Some of the things we have learned about the process are very troubling to us. We are encouraging each of our clients to educate themselves with union matters so they can understand how these types of decision are reached.  We believe that a strong and unified voice is necessary.  In order for that to happen, the majority of players must be heard.” – J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson, CAA Hockey

The current NHLPA constitution doesn’t require the full memberships involvement.

The vote to dethrone Paul Kelly was determined by the 30 NHL player reps who make up the PA’s executive board.

Veteran NHL defenceman Chris Chelios is a member of the executive board and he echoes Brisson and Barry’s issues with how Kelly was let go.

“I agree that our abrupt vote was questionable without being able to explain our position to our teammates,” Chelios told TSN.

To read Dreger’s complete report, click here.

What the hell is going on with the NHLPA?  Chris Chelios must have taken some serious heat from his former teammates because the impression we had from him not two weeks ago was that they were confident with it. 

This was Chelios response to Mlive.com’s George Malik on September 1st, 2009 when asked “what the response has been from his fellow NHLPA members as he explains the thought process behind Kelly’s firing

“A lot of guys obviously don’t know what happened, couldn’t see it coming,” said Chelios, an NHLPA executive board member. “Half the board couldn’t see this coming until we got to the meetings. At the end of the day, once everybody is filled in on what happened, they’re going to understand and we’re going to move on.”

We’re going to have to have to hope when the guys do find out all the information, they’ll agree. And I think they will,” he said.

It now appears to have come full circle as it was reported in today’s National Post that:

Chris Chelios is planning to talk with other players about the possibility of bringing back Paul Kelly as executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association….

To read the complete story, click here.

So stay tuned as the NHLPA continues to search for someone to lead them into the next possible CBA clash in 2011.