Player reps authorize investigation of Saskin's hiring

TORONTO -- Executive director Ted Saskin is facing another
challenge to his leadership of the NHL Players' Association, with a
majority of the 30 union-player representatives approving an
independent investigation into his hiring.

The action was announced Thursday in a statement from a New York
public relations company, with players and officials scattered
across the country after Wednesday night's All-Star Game.

"This is an informative investigation that we feel will
preserve the integrity of our NHLPA constitution and leadership
process," Mathieu Schneider, a Detroit Red Wings defenseman and
interim NHLPA executive committee member, said in the statement.
"The purpose of the investigation is to clear the air, produce
clarity on these questions and fortify a strong unified union."

A conference call was scheduled Thursday night between Saskin
and the executive board, which is made up of the NHLPA's executive
committee and the player-representatives from the 30 teams.

News of this latest challenge comes three days after a lawsuit
against Saskin and others was dismissed by a U.S. federal court in
Illinois. The judge agreed with the NHLPA position that Ontario
rather than Illinois should host such a lawsuit, if indeed it was
even warranted.

A group of about 70 players led by Chris Chelios, Dwayne Roloson
and Trent Klatt has sought Saskin's removal as the NHLPA's
executive director since he took over from Bob Goodenow following
the lockout.

"We'd certainly like to end the bickering and get back to being
a strong hockey union, which we were and should be," Dallas Stars
goalie Marty Turco told The Canadian Press.

Added Phoenix forward Kevyn Adams: "I think a lot of the guys
feel like, 'Let's get through this and move on.' I don't see a
problem with getting answers because that's good and healthy for
everyone involved. But it has to be done the right way."