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Report: NHLPA will not decertify

Nov 18, 2012, 11:12 AM EDT

Donald Fehr AP

When the NFL and NBA went through their lockouts last year, one word that came up often with each league’s players’ association was “decertification.” Decertifying the union means disbanding and drastically changing the outlook of negotiations.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, members of the NHLPA did inquire about doing the same at a recent union conference call but had the notion explained and turned down. From Brooks:

The players were told opting for decertification would not merely represent a legal technicality, it would in fact mean the players would no longer be negotiating as a unified group; indeed, decertification would mean the union would be disbanded.

There was little appetite to adopt that route, though talk of decertification — which presumably would be followed by filing of antitrust action in the U.S and filings in Canada, where labor laws differ throughout the provinces — will inevitably become louder and a more acceptable option for the players if the league continues to stonewall through next month.

The NFL and NBA were able to get through their tough talks and save their seasons after the players’ unions decertified. In both sports’ situations, decertification helped spur talks along.

All things considered, it’s for the best the NHLPA isn’t going this route as that would likely throw another wrench into what’s been messy negotiations.

  1. rainyday56 - Nov 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Deceritification, er, sorry,

    December 3

  2. footballer4ever - Nov 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Keep on fighting and arguing NHL and NHLPA. By the time you agree, most would have forgotten about you all and then you will go back to fighting for the pennies left over made. Shameful indeed for a sports league to put its fans which absolutely you give a “hoover-Dam” about.

  3. id4joey - Nov 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM


    Please note that someone has now begun posting here under the erroneous names of “blomfelb” and “Ib4joey” ! Of course these names are fake and they should in no way be confused with either “yours truly” or blomfeld. blomfeld already has a good handle on who’s behind this little caper. But for good measure, he has also asked his old friend “Stransky” to take a look into this (ie: Stransky is a physicist and an expert in forensic causation analysis) and he’s assured blomfeld that he’ll have the name of this imposter within 48 hours, with a margin for error of “plus or minus” 2.5 hours. Once this imposter has been identified, then suffice it to say that he/she will be “dealt with” quickly and ruthlessly.

    • killerpgh - Nov 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      How can the names be fake?

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    So basically this is going to happen, but unlike the PAs that used it as an effective negotiating tactic, Fehr and Co. will use it as one more ‘f you’ to the league once this season is officially cancelled. Brilliant.

  5. bjbeliever - Nov 18, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Do the Fehr brothers get paid by the hour or a lump sum for the negotiations?

    • killerpgh - Nov 18, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      Pretty sure I read they are not getting paid during the lockout either. And that is by their choice.

      • tackledummy1505 - Nov 18, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        I haven’t read or seen that they’re not getting paid. The Union pays their lawyers or representatives by the month. So last time I checked they’ve been paid what they needed to be paid for these negotiations. Are they still getting paid? Not really sure, but they’ve already made most of their money for the year and the end of last year. Come January is when the Fehrs would need to start getting their money for the year again. Who cares really, because the Fehr brothers are what killed hockey. All because they want all the money, no matter how much it kills the sport or for role-players to lose jobs. Good job NHLPA, you should decertify, because you’re really bad at negotiating

      • killerpgh - Nov 18, 2012 at 9:03 PM

  6. blomfeld - Nov 18, 2012 at 2:54 PM


    There’s absolutely no way this could happen … at least not now. However, if the entire season did go down the drain, then “decertification” will be the least of the problems they’ll have to worry about. A cancelled 2012-13 season will likely result in as many as 3-4 sunbelt franchises collapsing outright, with perhaps another 5-6 suffering “irreparable” financial damage. Just the sheer loss of jobs among the players alone, would make any eventual “decertification” a completely mute point.

    Nonetheless, I don’t see that happening. I believe that there will be a concerted effort to get this thing resolved now asap, perhaps during this coming week ? Originally I thought it would have been sooner during the week of Nov 5-10 ? But hey, we can’t always be “exact” right ? :) Anyway, I’m convinced that my thinking is far more accurate and preferable than what so many of these “negative and boring” people have been posting here … “cancel the season … I hate hockey … everything’s finished … FU NHL … etc”. Let’s see what happens now, as there’s still time to get in a reasonable 65 x game season …

  7. thomaspratt - Nov 18, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I would be grateful if someone could explain to me if a post-decertification NHL — where the players negotiate individually and the 30 teams operate without an anti-trust exemption — would be similar to the system used in leagues like the EPL.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 18, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      I’m not entirely sure about the EPL, but if the union decertified there would be no entry draft, no salary cap or floor or even minimum or maximum salaries, teams would be basically 30 separate entities who set their own work rules, if a team decided that players play from Sept-the end of the season and the become ticket office employees until the start of the next season, they’re entitled as long as what they’re doing meets employment laws.

      Interestingly it would also immediately open up the Toronto area market for any team to move to, with no payment, as the league would be unable to enforce geographic rights regions because that would be stifling competition.

      In effect if the union decertified, the doors would immediately have to be opened to a world that North American sports fans have never seen.

  8. icrew29 - Nov 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I was in the business world for over 25 years and my number 1 goal was to never, never piss off the customer. The NHL has pissed off the customers. How stupid can this league get, the owners pay the players and we the fans pay the owners. When they do decide to come back to work, I think it is time to stop paying the owners who in turn will not be able to pay their employees. Just like any business you get upset with and don’t do business with anymore. They must pay for their mistakes.

  9. tortowl - Nov 18, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    The tragedy here is that whatever the owners, players, or union says – they don’t care about the state of the game, the perception of the game – the parking lot attendant, bar owners close to arenas, ticket takers and everyone else not making money, and the sponsors that forked over tens of thousands of dollars to advertise in their arenas.

    These people can read – if it’s not on this site, it’s in their own local papers, news feeds or email – they know exactly how the fans feel how damaging this lockout is, so when I read about how upset or how sad these guys are I become even more disgusted with the complete lack of respect to the fans that put money in their pockets.

  10. rupertslander - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    With Obama back in the WH and the Dems still in control in the Senate, decertifying now makes no sense. Most of the GW Bush judicial appointments will be retired by 2017. It would therefore be better for the PA long term to bite the bullet now and litigate next time ’round, when they would presumably be going before a much friendlier bench.

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