Paul Kelly’s firing early Monday morning as executive director of the NHL Players Association was hardly big news to hockey fans.
The only thing fans should care about is both the union and league start preparing soon for negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement following the 2010-11 season.
There cannot be a single day of a work stoppage, not after debacle of the missed season in 2004-05.
NHLPA ombudsman Buzz Hargrove told the TEAM 1040 radio station in Vancouver Monday that the union didn't believe Kelly was the right man to lead them in that next contract negotiations.
“They didn't want to wait until it was too late," Hargrove said. "If we waited until next year, you're almost on the doorstep of the opening of negotiations and they didn't want then to be caught with someone they didn't really think was able to unify and pull the group together and get them all working together.”
Ian Penny was named interim executive director. Kelly was fired after the 30 player representatives voted to oust at their meetings here in Chicago.