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NHLPA moves step closer to dissolving union

Donald Fehr (C), executive director for the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), stands in front of National Hockey League (NHL) players Brad Richards and Sidney Crosby (L) to address the media on the difficulties in labour negotiations between the NHLPA and the NHL in New York, December 6, 2012. NHLPA said the league rejected its latest offer on Thursday as labour talks aimed at ending the lockout unexpectedly broke off on Thursday.

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

The next stop for the NHL lockout may be the court system.

The NHL Players' Association's board took the first steps down that path on Thursday night when on a conference call they decided to ask for a full membership vote on the issue of giving the board the authority to file a disclaimer of interest.

Such a move would give the board the power to dissolve the union, which would then allow players to file antitrust lawsuits in an attempt to get an injunction to end the now 90-day-old lockout or win damages.

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Multiple players contacted by The Globe and Mail on Friday refused to comment on the issue, citing "legal reasons" for their silence on the issue.

"Can't comment on that, sorry," one wrote via text message.

One source, however, said the vote to give the board that authority will take place "as soon as possible."

Both the NFL Players' Association and NB Players' Association went the disclaimer of interest route during their lockouts last year in an effort to better their negotiating position.

In the case of the NBA, players signed a new collective agreement with the league 12 days after the filing and the union was reformed.

A disclaimer of interest is technically different than a full decertification – it is a less formal and quicker process – but has the same outcome in the elimination of the union.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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