Skip to content

NHLPA: League’s “position is completely without merit”

Dec 14, 2012, 9:43 PM EDT


Earlier today, the NHL announced that it had filed Class Action Complaint in Federal Court in New York and a simulteanous Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

The NHL had made these moves after the union’s executive board reportedly gave its members the ability to vote on whether to give the board authorization to file a disclaimer of interest.

Now the NHLPA has issued a statement in response to the NHL’s actions:

“The NHLPA has just received a copy of the National Labor Relations Board charge and has not yet been served with the lawsuit. However, based on what we’ve learned so far, the NHL appears to be arguing that Players should be stopped from even considering their right to decide whether or not to be represented by a union. We believe that their position is completely without merit.”

Although this might be the start of a lengthy legal fight, these recent actions might also pressure both sides into agreeing to a new CBA rather than risk putting the league’s future in the hands of the court.

  1. zetaone - Dec 14, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    God damned lawyers. They make this world unnecessarily terrible.

    • ron05342 - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:17 PM

      The late Lamar Hunt said it best: “My definition of utter waste is a coachload of lawyers going over a cliff with three empty seats.”

      • blomfeld - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      • sportsfan69 - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:43 PM

        So true.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:42 AM

      This friends is just another theatrical ploy by Fehr and then Bettman countered with a well advised legal set of moves to gain a favorable court location,just in case. It won’t be needed as there will be a deal stuck with in a months time. Fehr knows any vote the players would vote not file a disclaimer of interest and would vote to take the owners last offer. All the 3rd and 4th liners,back up goalies,players over 35 and overpaid driftwood guys like Scott Gomez. Fehr doesn’t want a vote because he will lose and his job security and reputation would be weakened.There will be hockey next month…so don’t worry….watch hockey

      • valoisvipers - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:48 AM

        Sorry I left out a few words so here it goes again,
        This friends is just another theatrical ploy by Fehr and then Bettman countered with a well advised legal set of moves to gain a favorable court location,just in case. It won’t be needed as there will be a deal stuck with in a months time. Fehr knows any vote the players would vote not to file a disclaimer of interest and would vote to take the owners last offer. All the 3rd and 4th liners,back up goalies,players over 35 and overpaid driftwood guys like Scott Gomez all would vote to play now. Fehr doesn’t want a vote because he will lose and his job security and reputation would be weakened.There will be hockey next month…so don’t worry….watch hockey

  2. sportsfan69 - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    The Fehr brothers and lawyers need to go away on both sides. The lawyers are running the show now. Save Canada’s sport.

    • blomfeld - Dec 15, 2012 at 1:58 AM

      Dear Sportsfan69 – I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the role of Colonel Hessler in this film was loosely based on the real life persona of Joachim Peiper, a much heralded tank commander in the Waffen SS and the leader of Mohnke’s spearhead division during the Ardennes offensive in December 1944 …

      Joachim Peiper (German pronunciation: [ˈjoːaxɪm ˈpaɪpɐ]; 30 January 1915 – 14 July 1976), also known as Jochen Peiper, was a field officer in the Waffen-SS during World War II and personal adjutant to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler between November 1940 and August 1941. He saw combat on both the Eastern Front against the Red Army and the Western Front against the Allies. By 1945, he was an SS-Standartenführer and the Waffen-SS’s youngest regimental colonel. Peiper was convicted of war crimes committed in Belgium and accused of war crimes in Italy. He was murdered in France in July 1976, after his house was attacked with Molotov cocktails.

      War is an awful business with ugliness “always” committed by all sides. As such, Peiper is best remembered in the US for his execution of American POW’s at Malmedy. If you look however at the opposing point of view, you’ll find that what he did was nothing more than to exact revenge. An oft used training technique of the Waffen SS during the latter stages of the war, was to have new recruits assigned to retrieving bodies which had fallen victim to American carpet-bombing of German cities … “scrape them off the walls if you must” went the saying. The bottom line as far as I’m concerned, is that war must only ever be sanctioned as an absolute last resort for survival.

      • 8man - Dec 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Ladies and Gentlemen….Damien Sandow!

      • sportsfan69 - Dec 15, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        Thank you Comrade Blomfeld,

        I always thought of the Colonel Hessler character was Michael Wittmann. The only thing Commander Wittmann did not do was massacre any of his prisoners. But like you mentioned. I loss relatives in Hamburg and Dresden from American bombing. War is brutal and barbaric, it will test a person’s civility and intellect.

        “The Black Baron,” Michael Wittmann was a German Waffen-SS tank commander during the Second World War. Wittmann rose to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) and was a Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross holder.

        He was credited with the destruction of 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns, along with an unknown number of other armoured vehicles, making him one of Germany’s top scoring panzer aces, together with Johannes Bölter, Ernst Barkmann, Otto Carius and Kurt Knispel who was the top scoring ace of the war with 168 tank kills.[3]
        Wittmann is most famous for his ambush of elements of the British 7th Armoured Division, during the Battle of Villers-Bocage on 13 June 1944. While in command of a single Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger he destroyed up to 14 tanks and 15 personnel carriers along with 2 anti-tank guns within the space of 15 minutes.

  3. cowboyscanada - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Nobody cares about the NHL and its issues. After todays horrible shooting in Conneticut, who cares about billionaires arguing with millionaires.

    • ron05342 - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have read or commented here.

      So get over yourself.

  4. manchestermiracle - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    You can tell the league is being hypocritical when it says it wants to make a deal with the union to save the season and then turns around and sues them. When “negotiations” aren’t producing the desired effect of destroying the union, just call your attorneys and litigate.

    Does the NHL not realize that anything that eliminates the players’ association also eliminates their own antitrust exemption? Is the league actually working to encourage the players to de-certify? I could see the players defense to being sued by their own employers by using the lawsuit as a completely legitimate reason to vote to disband their union. What an utterly indefensible farce.

    • stakex - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:51 PM

      You clearly don’t know whats going on, what this actually means, or why the NHL is actually sueing the NHLPA do you?

      The players are taking the first steps towards a disclaimer of interest, which would disolve the union and allow players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the NHL. That started last night it seems and would end up resulting in anti-trust lawsuits against the NHL by the players. So its actually the players who started this new legal phase, not the owners.

      What the NHL is doing is firing back before the NHLPA can complete the DoI process. By being the first one to file a suit, the NHL is basicaly picking what court the entire legal battle will take place in. Some courts lean more towrds employees in these situations, and some lean towards owners/management… and the NHL wanted to see a friendly field of play for itself. Well within their rights, and fully expected.

      So make no mistake about it, the NHL would never have done this today if the NHLPA wasn’t on the verge of voting on the disclaimer of interest, and by extension getting ready to sue the NHL themselves.

      • valoisvipers - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM

        How can Stakex be getting thumbs down for writing the truth? Wake up idiots,88 days and counting.

      • woodstakes - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:55 AM

        Exactly stakex… nicely put!! The Union would probably most likely want to have these proceedings in Minnesota as they have shown to rule very well in cases in the NFL in the past for players/union. New York seems to be much more favoring to the leagues.

      • manchestermiracle - Dec 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        Nice job of defending the owners. Didn’t they start this whole fiasco by locking out the players? Or am I getting that wrong, too? This entire mess was begun by the owners, so you can’t claim ” its actually the players who started this new legal phase, not the owners.” It is a continuation of what these intransigent idiots collectively call “negotiating.”

        The league is choosing to up the ante by being the first to initiate legal action that involves the courts. De-certifying would still be within the confines of the employer-employee sphere and would not involve a courtroom, but the NHL isn’t getting its way so they’ve decided to whine to a higher authority.

        After insulting me in your opening sentence you did nothing to address the main point of my comment: That the league is willing to employ any tactic they deem necessary to crush the union, despite enjoying immunity from anti-trust laws because of that very union.

        Are the players using their sham excuse of a union as a bargaining chip? Duh. They have a “union” when it’s convenient for obtaining fat salaries and benefits, but have no problem tossing it when they aren’t getting their way.

        Are the owners employing every shady tactic imaginable in order to “correct” their own lack of foresight in the last CBA? Duh. Including a willingness to take the entire process to a new level by “being the first one to file a suit…” Whether or not the union’s filing of a disclaimer of interest would have resulted in a lawsuit is speculation. The NHL made that moot by choosing to beat the union to the punch.

        Make no mistake about it, none of this would have come to pass if the NHL wasn’t banking on the gullibility of its fans and the depth of its legal pocketbook. If the court system gets involved there is little chance it ends well. At the very least should the NHL win its case (which is quite likely as the league has filed suit first, thus gaining it an advantage in choice of venue), it will have succeeded in alienating its employees completely. At worst the union will be permitted to de-certify and the whole process of negotiating a new CBA goes back to square one, or even further.

        Neither side has my sympathy, but the owners brought this upon themselves with a poorly negotiated previous CBA and a conscious decision to lock out the players this season. The players are finding ways to keep the fans from being entirely on their side, including this latest threat to begin the de-certification process. But the owners win the biggest-assholes-of-the-argument with their preemptive strike of filing a lawsuit before the union can do the same. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but it sure looks like the NHL is more than willing to completely destroy its own league just to beat the union to it.

      • gp424 - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        Dear Players,

        Good luck in your anti-trust attempt going to be hard to prove considering that unlike the NBA, and NFL Hockey is worldwide, and to prove this point all the NHL has to do is show the court that about 100 or so players are already playing for pay in other countries. And that leagues like the ECHL also pay players to play. The NBA nor the NFL has no such leagues.

      • woodstakes - Dec 15, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        gp424 You keep saying that, yet your just plain wrong. Is there another league equivalent to the NHL, NFL or NBA in pay.. no, not even the KHL can be said for that. Sure they can pay a select few big dollars but they couldn’t or wouldn’t pay an entire league the same as the NHL. Same can be said for all the other leagues in the world. Bottom line is the amount a person can make has no bearing on whether or not anti-trust laws apply. BTW heres just a small list of all these leagues that are alternatives to the people playing in all those leagues you say don’t have anywhere else to go get paid:

        Pro Basketball leagues:

        -Argentina: Liga Nacional de Básquetbol
        -Brazil: Campeonato Brasileiro de Basquete
        -Canada: National Basketball League of Canada
        -Chile: División Mayor del Básquetbol de Chile
        -Mexico: Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional
        -Paraguay: Paraguayan Metropolitan Basketball League
        -Puerto Rico: National Superior Basketball
        -US: NBA, PBL ( Premier Basketball League)
        -Uruguay: Liga Uruguaya de Basketball
        -Venezuela: Liga Profesional de Baloncesto


        -China: CBA (Chinese Basketball Association), NBL (National Basketball League)
        -Chinese Taipei: SBL( Super Basketball League)
        -Indonesia: NBL (National Basketball League)
        -Japan: BJ League (Basketball Japan League), JBL (Japan Basketball League)
        -Lebanon: FLBB (Lebanese Basketball League)
        -Malaysia: NBL (National Basketball League)
        -Philippines: PBA (Philippine Basketball Association)
        -South Korea: KBL (Korean Basketball League)


        -Euroleague: a pan-Europe Competition for elite clubs
        -Austria: ÖBL (Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga)
        -Bosnia and Herzegovina: Basketball Championship of Bosnia and Herzegovina
        -Bulgaria: NBL (National Basketball League)

        Just to name a FEW pro basketball leagues around the globe.

        North America

        -8 Arena Football Leagues
        Just a few here in a North America, there are TONS of semipro and pro leagues all over Europe as well.

  5. antkowiak666 - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM


  6. barkar942 - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    After today’s tragedy in Connecticut, I think all of these a-holes should put their priorities in perspective. Players are overpaid to play a kids game, and the owners are all too wealthy anyway. Either shut up and settle or go home till next year!

    • tms71 - Dec 15, 2012 at 1:47 AM

      Terrible tragedy yes but it has no bearing on the NHL lockout.

    • hockeyflow33 - Dec 15, 2012 at 2:04 AM

      What does one have to do with the other? Could you be a bigger moron?

  7. bruinsfan1953 - Dec 15, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    Im enjoying watching this all play out almost as much as watching an NHL hockey Playoff game . Very intence , the stakes are hi and someone here could be elimated . I believe who could be elimates here are all us NHL fans . So that being said , play on !!!!

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Haven’t we already been kicked to the curb? Seems to me we lost the play-in game the day the NHL locked out the players.

  8. sadhockeyfan - Dec 15, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Putting an entire sport in the hands of the judicial system is absolutely crazy! Shame on players, owners, unions, etc. this is what your greed has come to. Wake up! None of you will have a job if this keeps up. You have single handedly destroyed a great and exciting sport. Sickening!

  9. id4joey - Dec 15, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Tic toc tic toc. That’s the sound of time running out for players to make any money at all this year. Another week remaining before more games are cancelled. What are the issues?

  10. capsfan19 - Dec 15, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Grandmaster bettman will churn his evil cauldron and unleash his army of…. Ugh gotta keep it PC…. :'(

  11. sportsfan69 - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM


    As registered Democratic, a former union management representative, I have NO sympathy for the NHLPA’s cause. The NHLPA is only alienating themselves as greedy and misguided.

    Why is the NFLPA and NBAPA settled their CBA’s and the NHLPA can’t? It is because you guys approach the league in an adversarial way, not in a good faith way. Taking the high road is the key to any good negotiations. By hiring Donald Fehr, you sent a message to everyone in the hockey world, that your going to fight the CBA to the bitter end.


    • woodstakes - Dec 15, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      The real difference is in those other leagues you mentioned for all the concessions the PA’s made in their most recent lockout is for virtually every concession from revenue share to contract rights for everything they PA gave up they received something in return. Go check out what the NFLPA got in return for a decrease in just revenue share. HERE the difference is the owners say “We want this!” and thats it! No, we want/need this and we will give you this. It’s always just give it up or remain locked out.

  12. id4joey - Dec 15, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    There are three major issues preventing a deal from being made.
    1) length of CBA-owners want 10 years PA looking for 8
    2) owners want the right to buyouts to rid themselves of under achievers w/o taking a cap hit. Ex: Gomez
    3) Contract lengths-players want 8 years max, owners want 5 max for outsiders and 7 for their own players

    Is the difference worth losing a whole year’s salary? One of my sources was on the player’s negotiating committee in 04-05, and he is at a lost for words with the current legal filings by both parties. Point being, no one outside the inner circle really can predict what will happen once attorneys are involved.

  13. sportsfan69 - Dec 15, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Respectful your wrong Woodstakes,

    NFL’s current CBA has NO guaranteed contracts. The NHL owners current CBA proposal still has GUARANTEED contracts. That’s a huge bargaining chip in favor of NHLPA. If I was a current player, I would stop screwing around before the NHL owners take the guarantee contracts off the bargaining table.

    • woodstakes - Dec 16, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      Read this:

      “When the players bristled at the idea of a 50-50 split, Gary Bettman instantly admonished the union based on the fact that the NFL and the NBA players had agreed to much similar deals. In fact, the NFL players had agreed to 48 percent of revenues. If the NFL and the NBA players could play along, why can’t the NHL players see the error of their ways.

      The problem with this notion is that the comparisons to the NFL situation and the lockout in 2011 don’t come anywhere close to the NHL lockout — at least when it comes to how Bettman and the league want to resolve the situation.

      The league wants the players to take a major salary cut to 48 percent or so, ideally, without increasing revenue sharing between franchises. The drop from the current 56 percent to 48 percent (or lower) would mean either salary rollbacks or increased escrow payments to make up for that large drop in percentages.

      The NFL, meanwhile, employed a much, much different resolution to the lockout last year.

      In the previous CBA, NFL players received 60 percent of “total revenues” – a number that did not include a $1 billion credit that was designated as an expense credit for the NFL franchises.

      In the new CBA, players share dropped to 48 percent. However, the $1 billion credit was no longer available to teams and the share was said to be of “all revenues.” The percentages dropped, but the amount of money for the players essentially stayed the same.

      NFL players did not see any changes to existing contracts. The players were upset with teams spending well below the salary caps, so the drop in percentages — along with the redefinition of revenues — allowed for teams to easily fit salaries into the new cap with the players’ share going over the new percentage amount.

      The players agreed to a lower percentage in part because of massive changes to the health and safety of the players; shorter offseason workouts, changes to training camp, limited contact in practices, as well as added injury protection on a player’s contract.

      The players agreed to a smaller percentage because the new CBA called for the league to spend to at least 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012, while committing to spend to 95 percent of the camp from 2013 to 2020.

      You can see just what incentives the players in the NFL had in taking a smaller percentage. There are some who believe the players actually received a very raw deal in the final CBA. The goal with this agreement, both between the owners and the players, was to grow the NFL and to continue to grow the league.”

      • woodstakes - Dec 16, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        See the NFL did something the owners i.e. Bettman doesn’t seem to get.. its called NEGOTIATING! Not demanding.. the NFL owners said “We want this and we’ll give you that in return.” Because as the article goes on to say… The OWNERS knew that the GROWTH of the GAME was most important. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think Fehr was brought in to “Grow the Game” either.. but the players knew what happened the last lockout and they sure has he!! weren’t going to let that happen again.

  14. sportsfan69 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:22 PM


    Either way the game of hockey is losing. This stalemate is pointless.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1819)
  2. P. Kessel (1702)
  3. M. Richards (1459)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1273)
  5. N. Backstrom (1182)