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The NHL Players' Association review into the firing of former executive director Paul Kelly deals less with individual blame and more with how poorly the association head office was structured.

One veteran hockey writer recently tweeted that the review into Kelly's firing last year concluded he was "shamefully railroaded"; the casualty of an internal power struggle involving former General Counsel Ian Penny, former ombudsman Buzz Hargrove and former advisory board member Ron Pink among others.

There is also speculation Donald Fehr's name is mentioned in the review since he was asked for his expertise by Penny and Hargrove prior to Kelly's dismissal. Fehr, the former head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, is presently an unpaid advisor for the NHLPA and possibly its new executive director.

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The review, however, does little to rehash the many personality struggles and focuses instead on the changes the PA is expected to make this fall. Whoever is hired as Kelly's replacement will wield greater authority. Under the revised constitution, an advisory board and ombudsman are no longer mandatory. The divisional player representatives will remain part of the PA office but will answer to the executive director. The General Counsel will also report to the director.

The constitution is set for ratification by a full player vote.

Fehr is currently on a meet-and-greet tour of NHL cities and still determining what his role will be within the NHLPA. There are indications his name is not mentioned in the review and that he remains the primary candidate for the executive director's job. An announcement of some kind is expected before the opening of training camps.

The PA's review committee consisted of Rob Blake, Mark Recchi, Chris Chelios and Nick Lidstrom and was assisted by a pair of Ontario lawyers. The review is available to players upon request but is not being circulated.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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