The NHL Players Association is looking for a new leader after the union’s executive board voted to begin the search for Don Fehr’s successor.
There is no timetable for this decision, and Fehr will continue in his current position until a replacement is found by a search committee which was announced Friday evening.
Fehr served as executive director for more than a decade and guided the NHLPA through two labor negotiations with the league. He will turn 74 in July and began to establish the framework for a succession plan last fall by talking to the players at the start of the season.
The seven-man committee consisting of Ian Cole of Carolina, Kyle Okposo of Buffalo, Kevin Shattenkirk of Anaheim, Justin Faulk of St. Louis, Sam Gagner of Detroit, Zach Hyman of Edmonton and Nate Schmidt of Winnipeg should provide a bet up to date on his search for the executive. board at its annual meeting in Toronto in June.
Fehr spent 23 years as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association before retiring from that position in 2009. He joined the NHLPA in December 2010 and negotiated a CBA with commissioner Gary Bettman and others. league officials in 2013 and an extension in 2020 that gave hockey labor peace until at least 2025.
“The many players who have played in the NHL over the past eleven years greatly appreciate the significant accomplishments under Don Fehr’s leadership,” the recruiting committee members said in a statement. “Don joined the NHLPA after a long and successful career as Executive Director of the MLBPA and quickly stabilized the union after a very difficult period. … We look forward to continuing to work with Don throughout the succession process.
Players also said Fehr played an important role in bringing the World Cup of Hockey back to 2016 and helping them through the COVID-19 pandemic with the CBA expansion that paved the way for the 2020 playoffs in quarantined bubbles.
Fehr was thrust into the spotlight last fall when a Chicago Blackhawks player who claimed he was sexually assaulted by a video coach said in a television interview that the NHLPA had been made aware of his case. An investigation recently revealed that Fehr was not responsible for the union’s handling of the Kyle Beach situation.
A law firm hired to investigate the Fehr and the union’s actions in 2010 and 2011 concluded that miscommunication and a misunderstanding were to blame for the lack of action after Beach reported being assaulted by Brad Aldrich.
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