WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Mark Stuart, the Bruins' NHLPA player rep, said Tuesday there was nothing new to report on the union's reported plans to hire Donald Fehr, the former executive director of baseball's players union.
According to Stuart, there is no scheduled vote of the 30 player reps to decide on whether Fehr should be hired to head hockey's union, but Stuart praised the man who led the MLBPA from 1986-2009 and has been serving as an advisor to the NHLPA since 2009.
“Nothing right now,” Stuart said following the Bruins' first captains practice. “He’s been great this summer, helping us out with the different things we’ve been looking at.”
Just more than a year ago, Paul Kelly was let go as executive director of the NHLPA in a heavily scrutinized move. Numerous players spoke out against the move and questioned why Kelly, who was seemingly making progress in league-union relations, was voted out in the early morning hours at a meeting amongst the player reps in Chicago last Sept. 1.
Following the decision, many veteran players, including 43-year-old Bruins forward Mark Recchi, criticized the lack of communication from player reps regarding their concerns for Kelly.
Last month, Robyn Regehr of the Calgary Flames said he wouldn’t vote on hiring Fehr until he met with his teammates at training camp. On Tuesday, Stuart agreed with Regehr's sentiment that it’s important for player reps to brief their teammates before voting on such important matters and plans to do so as his teammates filter in for training camp, which is set to begin Sept. 17.
“I think it’s important to keep everyone informed as much as you can, but it’s hard to do that in the summer, so training camp is a good time to inform the guys of what’s going on,” Stuart said. “It’s also a good time to get the younger guys involved so they know what’s going on. They need to be informed as well and it’s good to start them early. Anytime you can make decisions as a group, as a team, is the best thing.”
Stuart also said he is encouraged by the overall direction of the NHLPA.
“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Stuart said. “With more people getting involved, more people paying attention, and Don helping us out on our calls, it’s helped. Hopefully we’ll be naming some people into new positions soon and keep going in the right direction.”
The Bruins, along with the other 29 NHL teams, will vote on their 2010-11 NHLPA reps at the conclusion of training camp. Stuart said he would accept the job again should he be voted in.