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Specter of decertification looms over lockout

Nov 22, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

Donald Fehr: Sidney Crosby AP

Last month in our “Ask a Lawyer” series, we touched briefly on the topic of union decertification.

Back then, it wasn’t something we wanted to spend too much time discussing, since it was seen as more of a “last resort” type thing for the players.

Also, it was super boring.

But now, with the NHL and NHLPA still without a CBA, we’re hearing more and more about it.

Which is just awesome.

Late yesterday, the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle published a piece on decertification, and Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos followed suit early today.

Both stories suggest players are starting to consider dissolving the union in order to pursue an antitrust lawsuit against the NHL.

In fact, one anonymous player tells the Globe the time has come to “blow it up” (with “it” being the union).

If the players do choose to go the decertification route, it’s impossible to say how things will turn out. The owners may choose to fight with every lawyer they’ve got (and they’ve got a bunch of them), or they could decide it’s not worth the mess and soften their demands of the players, thus resulting in a new CBA.

In closing, we’d like to thank the 12 people who actually clicked on this link, by mistake or otherwise.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    If players are going to be breaking ranks and the league is going to continue being obstinate it would make sense to throw this to the courts.

    • bjbeliever - Nov 22, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Besides the fact that you would be dealing with two different court systems (American & Canadian), neither of which could make a business owner pay a specific salary. If the NHLPA chooses this option at this time they truly are living in their own world. Remember the labour board disputes?? What a joke, this is not a viable option, it could only result in a deal the players should have conceded to months ago.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 22, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        There would be no need for a specific salary, and in fact that’s the point, any attempt to do so would be collusion and would lead to trouble. Doesn’t matter where the teams are, the NHL is based in the US and given the US’s stance on monopolies and violations of anti-trust it would get very expensive. This is the nuclear option and might just be enough to make the owners blink.

  2. ron05342 - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    De-certification worked to get the NBA back to playing again, why not?

  3. acieu - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    What worked with the NBA was hard line owners out waiting the idiots in the union. Decertify away that will get the season started not!

  4. id4joey - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Yep! Just as the NBA did at about this time last year. This will squarely put the pressure back on the owners, but, I’m sure they were well prepared for this scenarios by the law firm they hired, which is the same law firm that worked with the NBA during their lockout last year. These guys probably have all the templates and flow charts ready to respond based on the players actions.

  5. sportsfan69 - Nov 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    If the players were to de-certify, they can kiss their entire season goodbye. Possibly two seasons, the owners would just just dig in or even worse dissolve several teams along with filing chapter 11 bankruptcy. They could release themselves all previous agreements and pension obligations. Be careful what you wish for, it could smack you right in the face and it will hurt you financially forever. Guys, this a business. Wake up.

  6. furkmyster - Nov 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Decertification would mean a deal would be done quickly. Bettman and Fehr would walk into the courtroom, and the judge would tell them they are wasting the courts time, and go do a deal now, or there will extreme punishment from the courts.

    Ask Goodell and Smith how there time in court went after the NFLPA decertified. The judge ripped both of them. Look at PFT’s decertification coverage, Florio is a lawyer and dissected it very well.

  7. jimw81 - Nov 22, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Decertification is worst thing owners want because a federal judge would probably force a federal meteor into the mix and the owners will lose big time.

  8. wenzel0232 - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:04 AM


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