The NHLPA announced today that its Executive Board has voted to accept the recommendation of the search committee (Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, the New Jersey Devils’ Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Rolston, the Red Wings’ Brian Rafalski and free-agent defenseman Mathieu Schneider) that Don Fehr be named the next Executive Director.
The recommendation to appoint Fehr will next be submitted to the full NHLPA membership for consideration, along with amendments to the NHLPA Constitution that were approved by the Executive Board earlier this summer. The NHLPA press release didn’t indicate what those amendments contain but, earlier this year, according to SportingNews.com:
Fehr addressed the [players'] agents to update them on the work he and the members of the constitution committee have done on rewriting the NHLPA’s unwieldy constitution that will make it much easier for the executive director — whether it’s Fehr or somebody else — to actually do his job. When Eric Lindros and his cabal of militants were in charge of things after the firing of Ted Saskin, they essentially swung the pendulum so far in favor of the players it essentially stripped the executive director of his power. And they did it against the advice of many who saw the new setup as unworkable.
How much autonomy can Fehr expect? According to a report in the New York Post, Fehr submitted a laundry list of requests that the NHLPA would first have to agree to before he accepted the Executive Director position:
- Salary of $3M per year to run through completion of collective bargaining after the current CBA expires following the 2011-12 season.
- Salary of $1.5M for the remainder of this year.
- Ability to use his brother, Steve Fehr, currently special counsel to the MLBPA after 23 years as outside counsel to the baseball players’ union, as outside advisor/counsel.
- Autonomy relating to all personnel decisions within the union.
- Ability to live in New York.
- Permission to co-author a book about baseball with his brother, Steve Fehr.
- Permission to open a consulting firm, though with the express stipulation that his first priority at all times will be the NHLPA.
The Executive Director and Constitution membership votes are expected to conclude following individual team meetings that will take place during training camp and the first part of the regular season, and Fehr’s appointment will not become official until that time.
In the interim, Fehr will continue to assist the NHLPA as a consultant.
“I am gratified by the Executive Board’s vote, and I look forward to meeting all the Players at team meetings which begin later this month,” Fehr said in the release.
Fehr, 62, joined the Major League Baseball Players Association as its General Counsel in 1977, and served as the MLBPA Executive Director for 26 years until he stepped down in December, 2009.