Barnum, Bailey & The NHLPA

I really thought that with Paul Kelly taking over the NHLPA the circus days were behind the union. No matter what these guys seem to do, the sideshow never ends. I am not sure what is more hilarious, the fact that these things go on, or that they are uncovered so easily.

“The NHL Players’ Association overhauled its constitution a year ago to prevent the union from repeating the errors of its past, but the union’s new structure is now causing friction between Executive Director Paul Kelly and ombudsman Eric Lindros. Kelly and Lindros, once staunch supporters of each other, are increasingly at odds over their roles at the union, according to numerous hockey and sports industry sources. Neither Kelly nor Lindros would comment on their relationship or whether there is tension between them. Kelly did say there should be a review of the constitution, including the ombudsman’s role, in a year. Lindros replied, “The constitution is there for a reason.”

So the PA put in an oversight system, one to ensure that the players had an eye on what was going on so that the mistakes of yesteryear. Makes sense. What is one to think when the new head of the PA wants to reduce the influence of the oversight (Lindros)?

“At a meeting of player representatives in Chicago at which both Kelly and Lindros were present, the issue of changing the constitution was raised and Lindros’ role as ombudsman was clarified. One player representative who asked not to be identified said the issues between Lindros and Kelly had been worked out, but other sources said that was not the case. Sources would not pinpoint reasons for problems between Kelly and Lindros, but the organization is structured in a way that could naturally put them at odds. Lindros fields complaints from players and acts as a watchdog over Kelly.The tension between Kelly and Lindros “is the worst-kept secret in hockey,” said one hockey source.”

Again, how does this happen? How is it that this is the worst kept secret? Here is the best part of the excellent story from the Sports Business Journal:

“Kelly said he understands the reasons for the checks on the executive director; after all, he was the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Eagleson. But, he said, “Some of the checks and balances are a bit more rigorous than they need to be. “If there are portions that need to be tweaked, that is what we need to do.” Kelly said another difficulty is that the constitution requires 25 player representatives to be on a conference call to get anything done, which is difficult to accomplish during the season, when teams are traveling. Kelly said the advisory board is beneficial and that separating the general counsel and the executive director positions makes sense. But, he said, “I am not so sure about the ombudsman role.”

I mean seriously folks…is this ridiculous? How are these guys going to work with the NHL if they are still fighting within?

“Lindros, asked to address Kelly’s comments, said, “Guys should continue to pay attention to what is going on within their own association, as well as take on a more interested role.” A year ago, Lindros and Kelly were vocal supporters of each other. Lindros was on the search committee of players that selected Kelly for the executive director job. And Kelly told SportsBusiness Journal in October 2007 that he supported the hiring of Lindros as the ombudsman weeks before he was officially hired. Back then, Kelly said of Lindros, “I think he would be the perfect choice.”

Ahhh what a difference a year makes. So know as the PA boss makes his rounds, asking the million dollar question (should we reopen the CBA), there is again unrest at the PA……

From the outside it looks bad. I can’t imagine how it looks from the inside either…..

Here is the a link to the full text….

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