In their search for a new executive director, the National Hockey League Players' Association will be getting some help from someone who has plenty of experience in that role, albeit in a different sport.
The union announced Thursday that Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1983, has agreed to work with members of two new committees established by the NHLPA.
"Hopefully, my experience at the MLBPA will be of help as the NHLPA members consider the reorganization of their union," Fehr said. "You have an organization of professional athletes who are in a period in which they can use some help, and if I can be of some assistance to them in the process, given the long experience I've had, I'd like to try and do it."
The executive board of the NHLPA — made up of one member from every NHL team — voted Thursday to set up two new committees: one tasked with finding someone to fill the vacant position of union chief and the other with reviewing the NHLPA's constitution.
"I didn't represent professional athletes for 32 years because I thought that was not the thing I wanted to do," Fehr said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to give them some assistance which will make this task a little easier for them."
Steve Montador of the Buffalo Sabres, Dominic Moore of the Florida Panthers, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars make up the constitution committee and are charged with the reviewing the terms and operation of the NHLPA constitution.
The union has yet to chose the five members who will be in charge of finding the new executive director but have decided that this committee will draw up the criteria for the top job.
Fehr, 61, set his retirement from the MLBPA for March 2010 this past June and has spent more than a quarter-century in charge of the powerful labour union.
When Fehr assumed the top job in the MLBPA in 1983, the average baseball player's salary was $289,000 US. During Fehr's tenure in office, that average has risen to $2.9 million US as of 2008.