With no official labour meetings scheduled for the rest of the week, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and members of the NHLPA are in Edmonton for a hearing with the Alberta Labour Relations Board Friday at 9 a.m. MT (11 a.m. ET) to determine whether the NHL lockout is legal in the province.
The league and the players' union will have their cases heard in front of a mediator after several members of both the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames filed a grievance last week on the grounds of the lockout — which was implemented after the 11:59 p.m. ET deadline on Sept. 15 — being unlawful in the province.
The players are arguing the league didn't follow the proper steps before imposing the lockout in failing to show willingness to work with a mediator — something necessary under Alberta law.
Daly referred to the complaints as a "joke", while the players suggested they were just making an attempt to start training camp in the hopes of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.
As outlined in documents obtained by the CBC, the NHLPA and its lawyers filed a complaint to the Alberta Labour Relations Board last week on behalf of several players named in the grievance, including Mikka Kiprusoff, Mike Cammalleri, Matt Stajan, Blake Comeau, Derek Smith, Tim Jackman, Dennis Wideman, Jarome Iginla, Mark Giordano, Mikael Backlund, Sam Gagner, Nick Schultz, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Whitney, Eric Belanger, Corey Potter, Devan Dubnyk, Henrik Karlsson, and Ryan Jones.
On Sept. 10, the league withdrew its application to the Board to start the process of implementing a lockout in Alberta.
It's the latest complaint filed of its kind recently, as the NHLPA and several members of the Montreal Canadiens had their request to block the lockout denied by Quebec's labour board.
The players' argument was on the grounds the NHLPA wasn't recognized as a union under Quebec labour laws. The board also rejected the NHL's request to dismiss the case, leaving open the possibility of future hearings.