In a move that could become very important in about 20 months, the NHL Players’ Association on Saturday voted to name Donald Fehr as its executive director. Fehr, who held the same job for the Major League Baseball Players’ Association from 1983 until 2009, will be tasked with leading the players through the next labor negotiations.
The current collective-bargaining agreement is set to expire in September of 2012, and everyone remembers that Fehr led the baseball union during its 1994-95 strike that led to the cancellation of the World Series. Fehr did a tour of the NHL teams over the span of a couple months, and met with the Kings during training camp. Peter Harrold, the Kings’ assistant player representative — Matt Greene is the player rep — said the Kings came away impressed with what Fehr had to say.
HARROLD: “I think there was a total consensus. Obviously his reputation speaks for itself, but he came in and talked to us. All of us realized that he’s a pretty intelligent guy. He’s got plans. He’s up to speed on everything having to do with the union and the CBA, and we think he’s the right guy to have at the top.”
Question: With everything the union has been through, all the leadership turmoil over the years, was it nice to get some resolution?
HARROLD: “Yeah. At the end of the day, it’s about the players being united. To have him out front, and making sure we have a guy looking after us who has been there and done that, that’s a comfort to us.”