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NHLPA fires Paul Kelly (UPD: player review of firing completed)

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Old
09-02-2009, 09:17 AM
  #201
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09-02-2009, 10:26 AM
  #202
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You're right, I did misspeak on the powers. The executive committee can make this decision.

Interestingly, according to this article, the reps were told they could go back to the membership, but the reps decided they would make the decision then and there.

sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=4433555

While I fully admit there could be selective sourcing for quotes, it's interesting that no former NHLPA exec committee member(who you might think might have a pipeline to what is going on) thinks this was a good move.

Too much of this stinks though. There are far too many pieces that don't fit. If these problems were of the nature to give cause, and they go back a year, why was he not canned earlier?

I still think this audit into Lindros, Penney etc holds the key to this story. If that was a witchhunt, then this evidence may well be incriminating, and the PA's biggest crime is the handling. If, however, the audit was conducted because there was really a problem....

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09-02-2009, 10:47 AM
  #203
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Originally Posted by Bluefan75 View Post
You're right, I did misspeak on the powers. The executive committee can make this decision.

Interestingly, according to this article, the reps were told they could go back to the membership, but the reps decided they would make the decision then and there.

sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=4433555

While I fully admit there could be selective sourcing for quotes, it's interesting that no former NHLPA exec committee member(who you might think might have a pipeline to what is going on) thinks this was a good move.
I heard Kevin? Adams who has retired chat about it and he wasn't firmly down on it. Like the rest of us, he didn't know all the facts.

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Originally Posted by Bluefan75 View Post
Too much of this stinks though. There are far too many pieces that don't fit. If these problems were of the nature to give cause, and they go back a year, why was he not canned earlier?

I still think this audit into Lindros, Penney etc holds the key to this story. If that was a witchhunt, then this evidence may well be incriminating, and the PA's biggest crime is the handling. If, however, the audit was conducted because there was really a problem....
One thing that came out in this was that there were rumours that the five year deal with Penny stunk of foul play/improper procedure. One of the reps addressed it. They made a technical error when processing it according to their constitution and they repeated the process so it would be handled correctly. Kelly apparently was advised of it.

The other part about that was that the five year deal apparently wasn't Penny's idea. It was the players who wanted to lock him up so that he'd be with them past the next CBA negotiations and deal. And then they made him interim director - again, that apparently came from the players.

So if this hotshot forensic accountant was looking into Penny, either he didn't find anything or he did a lousy job. Take your pick.

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09-02-2009, 10:54 AM
  #204
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Originally Posted by cleduc View Post

One thing that came out in this was that there were rumours that the five year deal with Penny stunk of foul play/improper procedure. One of the reps addressed it. They made a technical error when processing it according to their constitution and they repeated the process so it would be handled correctly. Kelly apparently was advised of it.

The other part about that was that the five year deal apparently wasn't Penny's idea. It was the players who wanted to lock him up so that he'd be with them past the next CBA negotiations and deal. And then they made him interim director - again, that apparently came from the players.

So if this hotshot forensic accountant was looking into Penny, either he didn't find anything or he did a lousy job. Take your pick.
One would think that after the Ted Saskin debacle that they would understand the importance of doing things by the book. The fact that they excluded Kelly in not following the constitution doesn't help them either.

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09-02-2009, 11:01 AM
  #205
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Paul Kelly is going to be on Leafs Lunch in 40 minutes, not sure how much he will actually say though.

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09-02-2009, 11:59 AM
  #206
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Kelly said almost nothing, just praised the players and the people at the NHLPA, and that he was disappointed at the decision (and very tired at the time). Beyond that, he said nothing and dodged any of the key questions we would have.

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09-02-2009, 12:08 PM
  #207
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Originally Posted by Egil View Post
Kelly said almost nothing, just praised the players and the people at the NHLPA, and that he was disappointed at the decision (and very tired at the time). Beyond that, he said nothing and dodged any of the key questions we would have.
Which is to be expected. While the PA no doubt is aware of things, no sense putting your strategy for your wrongful dismissal suit out there any earlier than necessary.

I think an enterprising reporter who isn't concerned about losing interview access could have a real good story here.

I suspect the PA does not let anything go to court....

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09-02-2009, 12:15 PM
  #208
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Hargrove became a pariah even in the union movement. He raided other unions and caused rifts in the Canadian Labour Congress.

The NDP (the traditional party of organized labour in Canada) suspended his NDP party membership on February 11, 2006. In retaliation the CAW severed all ties with the NDP.

No surprise since he had been actively undermining the NDP and its leaders for years.
That's one interpretation.

I'm certainly not a Hargrove fan, and not even one inclined to vote NDP at any level, but Hargrove and the CAW had issues with Alexa McDonough's leadership of the NDP. McDonough was more of a Tony Blair, third way socialist, rather than a traditional "Labour" socialist. So from the labour view, the NDP abandoned its labour roots under McDonough's leadership. After McDonough was replaced, Hargrove whole heartedly supported Jack Layton. However when Layton joined with Harper and separatist leader Gilles Duceppe to bring down the Paul Martin government, Hargrove rightly predicted that this would lead to a conservative minority government that would be far less friendly to a labour/NDP social agenda than the Liberals.

This is small politics from Layton - to get maybe 1 or 2 more seats in commons (at best), he acted in a way that would be least likely to further the interest or agenda of his party.


Quote:
So Hargrove's answer was to endorse the federal Liberals???? That was the last straw for the NDP because of the party policy of continuing to castigate the Liberals for the litany of scandal and corruption that lasted for years as revealed by the Gomery Commission.
Hargrove proposed tactical voting. The CAW endorsed NDP candidates where either the Conservatives or Liberals had an unassailable lead or where the NDP candidate was most likely to win and endorsed Liberals in tight races where the NDP and Liberals were more likely to split the centre-left vote.

Secondly - please don't bring up the Gomery commission as evidence of anything. It was a flawed, biased process that the Conservatives allowed to continue primarily because it was a public extension of the Liberal party's civil war between Martin and Cretien. A year ago, a Federal court quashed the commissions conclusions on the basis that both Gomery and his chief counsel have ties to former Conservative PM Brian Mulroney's law firm and that Gomery was playing to the press ("the juicy stuff is yet to come"), made comments that indicated he prejudged the process and made personal insults towards the defendants.


Quote:
If you want to cause dissension and problems in an organization just drop Buzz Hargrove in - instant civil war.
Agreed.

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09-02-2009, 12:33 PM
  #209
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Originally Posted by cleduc View Post
Well here's the part where I have a problem lining that up with what I've gathered from the various quotes and interviews in the media:

First of all, we have the players reporting problems a year ago. Then the 3 page Lindros letter of February. Then players reporting more problems in June. Then from this meeting:

a) No one brought up Pink's report in the media that I've seen

b) Hargrove claimed his report was done by him and exclusively under the role of Ombudsman - just reporting the facts of his findings with no opinion.

c) I believe it was Hargrove who said it was a reps only meeting - no Pink, Hargrove, Kelly or Lindros (who wasn't there) in constant attendance. Hargrove for example was brought in to specifically answer questions about his report for clarification and then left the meeting.

d) A group of four player reps and a HR consultant they hired went around and interviewed every NHLPA employee to confirm the information they had found out. And they reported that directly to the reps - with no Pink, Hargrove, Lindros directly in that loop.

That last point (d) is significant because it's pretty tough to put a powerplay hit piece together and have it survive that sort of scrutiny unless there's merit to it. And these folks who are being suggested as making a powerplay were not in the meetings full time to influence the reps as they reviewed the facts and findings.

Hargrove (emphatically), Penny and Pink have all been reported as stating they will not accept the full time directors position. So if they were making a power play, they're apparently not accepting the power.

Therefore, although I don't know enough of the whole story to be certain, I can't conclude that I'm very convinced of a true powerplay being made. If I had to bet on it, I think there were problems raised by various parties over the past year and those problems were thoroughly looked into by player reps. As a result, Kelly was dumped with good reason(s) that were verified by those reps.
Ron Pink has been mentioned in any number of reports. I have not seen a report where he has ruled himself out of the running for Executive Director. I was told by sources that I trust that it was Ron Pink who was the driving force behind this plan with inside information coming from within the NHLPA office. It could not have been Lindros as he was gone.

I have never claimed that Hargrove would make a bid for Executive Director.

Ian Penny was reported to be on his way out of the NHLPA if Kelly remained.
Quote:
Penny has worked as a staff counsel for the National Hockey League Players' Association since 2000 and was named general counsel in 2007. Kelly had been at odds with Penny, members of the NHLPA's outside advisory board, ombudsman Buzz Hargrove and members of the NHLPA staff, sources said.
http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/arti...director-nhlpa

Eric Lindros resigned but there have been a number of reports that this was forced resignation and that he and Kelly had a very poor relationship. Given Lindros' history with his employers that is not difficult to believe.

Bill Watters seems to think that the affair was driven by Ian Penny and Ron Pink. IMHO there is no way that Buzz Hargrove was capable of writing the extensive and detailed report that he presented but I have no doubt his actual presentation was good, probably even compelling.

When I was a young associate (i.e employee) lawyer, one of the partners who specialized in litigation was one of the most effective advocates I have ever seen work a courtroom or tribunal hearing. However he could not research to save his life and his writing was not all that great. However put him at the bar with the research done and the argument written and he was hell on wheels - my job was to prepare him. BTW when I left the firm several of the biggest clients followed me because it had became apparent that I was doing all the spade work.

That is my sense of how Hargrove operated.

I just listened again to Leaf's Lunch where Darren Dreger walked through the process as he was camped out on the doorstep at the hotel ballroom.

What was criticized by both Dreger and Watters was that the case against Kelly was presented over many hours by Hargrove and was supported by an anonymous letter that according to them was extremely detailed and came from within the NHLPA offices. Watters thinks it was Penney. Watters says Kelly's big mistake was not removing Penney the moment he came on board.

There was also apparently a report from an outside consultant. Kelly was not given the opportunity to review either report.

Watters describe the process as a "crucifixion" and "seven hours of punching Paul Kelly in the face". Dreger was little less graphic but said much the same thing about it being a smear job.

Watters also referred to the NHLPA spending money like it was water and that Kelly was trying to do something about that.

What was most startling to me from a legal perspective was that at no time was Kelly given the opportunity to review the evidence against before being allowed to speak. Dreger and Watters were very clear on that point. It is pretty difficult to answer detailed allegations that are sprung on you at the last moment. Trial by ambush went out of favour in our court system decades ago.

The most basic rule of termination of an employment contract is that you must give the employee an opportunity to see the case being made against him and to have an opportunity to respond. Every labour lawyer knows this and Ron Pink is a well-known labour lawyer.

It is also well established that if there is a concern about such things as performance, management style, etc. that the employee must be presented with the details and given an opportunity to correct the alleged problems. There must be what is referred to as "progressive discipline" - oral meetings outlining the issues, opportunity to correct, further review, written notification, opportunity to correct and finally termination.

In certain limited cases there may be a single act so egregious that it constitutes legal cause and in that case the employer may be justified in immediate termination. Of course you would then have to prove your position in court should the employee subsequently challenge the termination as being for cause.

This is basic employment law and well-known by any run of the mill HR professional let alone a labour lawyer. This is on Page 1 of "Employment Law for Dummies".

This is not one of those limited cases according to Buzz Hargrove himself:
Quote:
"Paul Kelly's been here for 21 months, and there's been a lot of issues during that 21 months," Hargrove told Sportsnet. "And it reflected the concern of the players, or lack of confidence in Paul to be able to resolve these ongoing issues that just keep coming up and festering and getting larger. And it was really about trust and confidence in his leadership style more than anything else."
And:
Quote:
"They didn't want to wait until it was too late," Hargrove said. "If we waited until next year, you're almost on the doorstep of the opening of negotiations and they didn't want then to be caught with someone they didn't really think was able to unify and pull the group together and get them all working together. 'Trust and confidence' were the words they used and I think that's used appropriately."
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=289459

The statement from the Executive Board announcing Kelly's termination:
Quote:
"After a full review of the overall health of the office and the Association, it became clear Paul Kelly was not the right individual for the Executive Director's role going forward.

The Executive Board had to make the decision we made today in the best interest of our membership. The decision made was in part the result of the checks and balances we now have in our Constitution. While it is unfortunate things didn't work out with Paul Kelly, we made an informed decision. It is the right decision and we know what we did what was best for our association."
Here is good summary of the law on termination for cause.
Quote:
It is impossible to outline all the activities that would constitute cause and each case turns on its facts. But, as a generalization, where an employee has engaged in any of the following it has been held to be cause for discharge:

1. Serious misconduct: Theft, dishonesty and assault are generally held to be serious misconduct. Conduct such as absenteeism, lateness and poor performance is usually not serious misconduct unless there has been some form of progressive discipline.

2. Habitual neglect of duty or incompetence: For this to be cause, the employee has to clearly understand the requirements of the job, the requirements have to be reasonable and despite the problems being brought to the employee’s attention, assistance offered. A reasonable time period must be given for improvement.
...
In terminating an employee for cause, the onus is on the employer to prove the existence of just cause beyond the balance of probabilities. The finding of cause must be based on real incompetence or misconduct, rather than simple dissatisfaction with performance or concern as to a potential misconduct. Where the employer is unable to demonstrate cause, an employee will be entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal. It should be noted that the Supreme Court of Canada has emphatically rejected the “near cause” principle.1 (The “near case” concept would have permitted a court to reduce the damages of a wrongfully dismissed employee in
cases where the employee’s work record was not ideal but not enough to justify dismissal.)
http://www.nelligan.ca/e/PDF/terminationforcause.pdf

It is my understanding that the NHLPA is intending to pay out Kelly under the termination provisions of his contract. If so then there will be no lawsuit for wrongful dismissal. I would certainly expect that as part of the payment and settlement of these matters there will be mutual releases signed that will incorporate confidentiality clauses

Given what has occurred and the manner in which appears this is going to be resolved, speculation may be the best we get.

Based upon what I have observed, what I have been told and what has been reported (principally from Darren Dreger who was the only media rep to be there from start to finish and who broke the initial story of Paul Kelly's job being in jeopardy), I believe the hatchet job on Kelly was part of a well-planned strategy from a faction within the NHLPA. The idea was to blitz Kelly, give him no opportunity to see the case against him and respond and then overwhelm the player reps with a litany of minor complaints.

Ian Penny had his contract extended without Paul Kelly being involved (how is that for strange) - in fact there are reports that Kelly was recommending that Penny not be extended and another general counsel be hired. The name I heard as being the replacement from two of my sources was Ian Pulver who had worked with Goodenow. Penny was in place to step into Kelly's shoes if the faction could persuade the player reps to remove Kelly.

It worked.

YMMV.

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09-02-2009, 12:36 PM
  #210
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Originally Posted by Egil View Post
Kelly said almost nothing, just praised the players and the people at the NHLPA, and that he was disappointed at the decision (and very tired at the time). Beyond that, he said nothing and dodged any of the key questions we would have.
No surprise, Paul Kelly is an elite lawyer, no way he is going to say anything until he gets the lay of the land.

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09-02-2009, 12:40 PM
  #211
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No surprise, Paul Kelly is an elite lawyer, no way he is going to say anything until he gets the lay of the land.
With the way things are going in Phoenix, a year from now, maybe there is another executive position in hockey for Kelly.

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09-02-2009, 12:45 PM
  #212
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Unless the NHLPA gets its excrement together in a hurry it doesn't bode well for the next round of CBA negotiations. With the union weak at the top and clearly divided, it will make it very hard for them to agree to anything.

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09-02-2009, 04:14 PM
  #213
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Ron Pink has been mentioned in any number of reports. I have not seen a report where he has ruled himself out of the running for Executive Director. I was told by sources that I trust that it was Ron Pink who was the driving force behind this plan with inside information coming from within the NHLPA office. It could not have been Lindros as he was gone.

I have never claimed that Hargrove would make a bid for Executive Director.

Ian Penny was reported to be on his way out of the NHLPA if Kelly remained.

http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/arti...director-nhlpa

Eric Lindros resigned but there have been a number of reports that this was forced resignation and that he and Kelly had a very poor relationship. Given Lindros' history with his employers that is not difficult to believe.

Bill Watters seems to think that the affair was driven by Ian Penny and Ron Pink. IMHO there is no way that Buzz Hargrove was capable of writing the extensive and detailed report that he presented but I have no doubt his actual presentation was good, probably even compelling.

When I was a young associate (i.e employee) lawyer, one of the partners who specialized in litigation was one of the most effective advocates I have ever seen work a courtroom or tribunal hearing. However he could not research to save his life and his writing was not all that great. However put him at the bar with the research done and the argument written and he was hell on wheels - my job was to prepare him. BTW when I left the firm several of the biggest clients followed me because it had became apparent that I was doing all the spade work.

That is my sense of how Hargrove operated.

I just listened again to Leaf's Lunch where Darren Dreger walked through the process as he was camped out on the doorstep at the hotel ballroom.

What was criticized by both Dreger and Watters was that the case against Kelly was presented over many hours by Hargrove and was supported by an anonymous letter that according to them was extremely detailed and came from within the NHLPA offices. Watters thinks it was Penney. Watters says Kelly's big mistake was not removing Penney the moment he came on board.

There was also apparently a report from an outside consultant. Kelly was not given the opportunity to review either report.

Watters describe the process as a "crucifixion" and "seven hours of punching Paul Kelly in the face". Dreger was little less graphic but said much the same thing about it being a smear job.

Watters also referred to the NHLPA spending money like it was water and that Kelly was trying to do something about that.

What was most startling to me from a legal perspective was that at no time was Kelly given the opportunity to review the evidence against before being allowed to speak. Dreger and Watters were very clear on that point. It is pretty difficult to answer detailed allegations that are sprung on you at the last moment. Trial by ambush went out of favour in our court system decades ago.

The most basic rule of termination of an employment contract is that you must give the employee an opportunity to see the case being made against him and to have an opportunity to respond. Every labour lawyer knows this and Ron Pink is a well-known labour lawyer.

It is also well established that if there is a concern about such things as performance, management style, etc. that the employee must be presented with the details and given an opportunity to correct the alleged problems. There must be what is referred to as "progressive discipline" - oral meetings outlining the issues, opportunity to correct, further review, written notification, opportunity to correct and finally termination.

In certain limited cases there may be a single act so egregious that it constitutes legal cause and in that case the employer may be justified in immediate termination. Of course you would then have to prove your position in court should the employee subsequently challenge the termination as being for cause.

This is basic employment law and well-known by any run of the mill HR professional let alone a labour lawyer. This is on Page 1 of "Employment Law for Dummies".

This is not one of those limited cases according to Buzz Hargrove himself:


And:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=289459

The statement from the Executive Board announcing Kelly's termination:


Here is good summary of the law on termination for cause.

http://www.nelligan.ca/e/PDF/terminationforcause.pdf

It is my understanding that the NHLPA is intending to pay out Kelly under the termination provisions of his contract. If so then there will be no lawsuit for wrongful dismissal. I would certainly expect that as part of the payment and settlement of these matters there will be mutual releases signed that will incorporate confidentiality clauses

Given what has occurred and the manner in which appears this is going to be resolved, speculation may be the best we get.

Based upon what I have observed, what I have been told and what has been reported (principally from Darren Dreger who was the only media rep to be there from start to finish and who broke the initial story of Paul Kelly's job being in jeopardy), I believe the hatchet job on Kelly was part of a well-planned strategy from a faction within the NHLPA. The idea was to blitz Kelly, give him no opportunity to see the case against him and respond and then overwhelm the player reps with a litany of minor complaints.

Ian Penny had his contract extended without Paul Kelly being involved (how is that for strange) - in fact there are reports that Kelly was recommending that Penny not be extended and another general counsel be hired. The name I heard as being the replacement from two of my sources was Ian Pulver who had worked with Goodenow. Penny was in place to step into Kelly's shoes if the faction could persuade the player reps to remove Kelly.

It worked.

YMMV.
I did a google news search for "Ron Pink". Only 16 stories came up. "Paul Kelly" turned up 862 stories and at a glance, the bulk seemed to relate to the NHLPA. Of the 16 stories with "Ron Pink", about four had some speculation that he might have been involved with no substantiation.

Where he got mentioned beyond in passing and not speculating:
http://www.nesn.com/2009/09/bruins-n...aul-kelly.html
Quote:
“As for what’s being said out there about Buzz Hargrove or Ian Penny, Ron Pink and Eric Lindros, those are just complete fabrications,” Ference said. “Lindros had nothing to do with this. When he resigned, he was finished with official business as far as the union goes. Did he and Kelly disagree when he was ombudsman? Yes, but he had nothing to do with this decision.

“There were no personal agendas, I can tell you that. This was based on what our review found and things I unfortunately cannot discuss at this time. But all of that stuff is crazy.”

An NHLPA spokesperson also said the claims that Lindros and Penny took money from the NHLPA “have no basis in fact.”
Ference, a rep who was there, gave him a pass.

Here's where Hargrove says Pink is not a candidate to take over.
http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/689176
Quote:
Hargrove said Ron Pink, who applied for the executive director's job when it was awarded to Kelly and remained as part of an advisory committee, is not interested in the post.

Hargrove also dismissed rumours that Eric Lindros, who unhappily resigned from the ombudsman post, was the driving force behind the move to oust Kelly.

"These young players, I have to say with the greatest sincerity and honesty that I can muster, don't even know Eric Lindros," Hargrove said. "They know his name but he has not played any role."
So the only fingers pointing at Pink as of right now are "unnamed sources" in the best case according to that review.

As for your citing of research, that's great but I don't really know if Hargrove can research or not or got someone (assistant) to help him. As his report is limited to reporting the facts, his is just one more voice of what appears to have been many in this review. So far, I haven't been able to detect anything sinister on his end.

As for the employment law, it really depends on what the conduct is as to whether one fires an employee on the spot. They did give Kelly a chance to respond to the concerns at the meeting but again, depending on what the concerns are contributes to whether one decides to allow him to research what his answer to the charges would be. And for some/lots of conduct, no research is required to provide an answer.

For example, ff he was counseling NHLPA employees to not talk to the Ombudsman or he would nail them in their review as Lindros reported and he was doing forensic accounting investigations vindictively (without good cause) to go after his critics, then I'd fire him on the spot too. He should know better and shouldn't require any warning for that sort of behavior. Stupid is as stupid does ... and stupid gets fired.

Again, I'm not concluded on what has gone on here. But I continue to try to look objectively for evidence. I've seen no evidence beyond removed innuendo that Hargrove, Pink, Penny or Lindros did anything wrong. And I haven't seen much specific evidence that Kelly did anything specifically wrong. I have seen evidence that the players took a pretty hard and careful look and that Kelly was given an opportunity to answer the complaints against him. So I am having some trouble with the conspiracy theory being as probable.


Last edited by cleduc: 09-02-2009 at 05:18 PM.
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09-02-2009, 04:40 PM
  #214
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Originally Posted by cleduc View Post
I did a google news search for "Ron Pink". Only 16 stories came up. "Paul Kelly" turned up 862 stories and at a glance, the bulk seemed to relate to the NHLPA. Of the 16 stories with "Ron Pink", about four had some speculation that he might have been involved with no substantiation.

Where he got mentioned beyond in passing and not speculating:
http://www.nesn.com/2009/09/bruins-n...aul-kelly.html


Ference, a rep who was there, gave him a pass.

Here's where Hargrove says Pink is not a candidate to take over.
http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/689176


So the only fingers pointing at Pink as of right now are "unnamed sources" in the best case according to that review.

As for your citing of research, that's great but I don't really know if Hargrove can research or not or got someone (assistant) to help him. As his report is limited to reporting the facts, his is just one more voice of what appears to have been many in this review. So far, I haven't been able to detect anything sinister on his end.

As for the employment law, it really depends on what the conduct is as to whether one fires an employee on the spot. They did give Kelly a chance to respond to the concerns at the meeting but again, depending on what the concerns are contributes to whether one decides to allow him to research what his answer to the charges would be. And for some/lots of conduct, no research is required to provide an answer.

For example, ff he was counseling NHLPA employees to not talk to the Ombudsman or he would nail them in their review as Lindros reported and he was doing forensic accounting investigations vindictively (without good cause) to go after his critics, then I'd fire him on the spot too. He should know better and shouldn't require any warning for that sort of behavior. Stupid is as stupid does ... and stupid gets fired.

Again, I'm not concluded on what has gone on here. But I continue to try to look objectively for evidence. I've seen no evidence beyond removed innuendo that Hargrove, Pink, Penny or Lindros did anything wrong. And I have seen much specific evidence that Kelly did anything specifically wrong. I have seen evidence that the players took a pretty hard and careful look and that Kelly was given an opportunity to answer the complaints against him. So I am having some trouble with the conspiracy theory being as probable.
You read the tea leaves one way, I read them another.

There may be any number of concerns expressed about Kelly but none of them seem to amount to termination for cause under the law and certainly the procedure is not close to what the law requires in terms of progressive discipline.

We may both be wrong and we may never know the real story.

I am sticking with what I have been heard and what I have been able to glean from reports and other sources.

YMMV.

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09-02-2009, 05:23 PM
  #215
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
You read the tea leaves one way, I read them another.

There may be any number of concerns expressed about Kelly but none of them seem to amount to termination for cause under the law and certainly the procedure is not close to what the law requires in terms of progressive discipline.

We may both be wrong and we may never know the real story.

I am sticking with what I have been heard and what I have been able to glean from reports and other sources.

YMMV.
I fixed a typo in my post which should have read:
"I haven't seen much specific evidence that Kelly did anything specifically wrong."

I'm not sure how wrong I can be quite yet because I haven't really firmly decided on what is "right". I do think this whole thing has been a bit of a rush to judgment in the media. Maybe we'll never really know as you say. So I'm going to give it a little more time and keep looking for some solid input/evidence from the parties involved before alleging too much against anyone.

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09-02-2009, 07:30 PM
  #216
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I have really enjoyed following the posts on this subject of wetcoaster whom I know to be a member of the legal profession based on personal messages and cleduc whom I do not know. All that I can add as a member of the litigation bar of Ontario for over 20 years especially in the employment area is that I would be shocked if the NHLPA did not honour all of the remaining contract of Mr. Kelly. If there is no blatant smoking gun in terms of cause for dismissal, then the NHLPA if it is seeking to rely on performance issues for termination needed to give Mr. Kelly written notice of its
dissatisfaction with his performance, and a reasonable time for him to improve. The performance issues also have to deal with fundamental aspects of his job performance and not peripheral issues. Since by all indications there is no evidence of this having been done, the Union would be annihilated in any court or legal proceeding for the complete absence of having taken these steps. In fact, I would take the case on a contingency basis for Mr. Kelly if that was the case.

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09-02-2009, 08:20 PM
  #217
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Originally Posted by stormtracker View Post
I have really enjoyed following the posts on this subject of wetcoaster whom I know to be a member of the legal profession based on personal messages and cleduc whom I do not know. All that I can add as a member of the litigation bar of Ontario for over 20 years especially in the employment area is that I would be shocked if the NHLPA did not honour all of the remaining contract of Mr. Kelly. If there is no blatant smoking gun in terms of cause for dismissal, then the NHLPA if it is seeking to rely on performance issues for termination needed to give Mr. Kelly written notice of its
dissatisfaction with his performance, and a reasonable time for him to improve. The performance issues also have to deal with fundamental aspects of his job performance and not peripheral issues. Since by all indications there is no evidence of this having been done, the Union would be annihilated in any court or legal proceeding for the complete absence of having taken these steps. In fact, I would take the case on a contingency basis for Mr. Kelly if that was the case.
I either read or heard an interview that indicated Kelly was going to get paid in full. Again, I don't know how accurate the source was by my vague recollection was that it sounded as sincere as something like that could sound under the circumstances.

If that is true, in combination with the point you've made, which I agree with, that would be an indication that whatever the issues they had with how Kelly was doing his job, they were not grotesquely severe on the level of what Saskin did to get fired for example. (I think Saskin settled for $400k which was a fraction of what was outstanding).

Having said that, the tone of what I heard from the reps seemed like one of significant resolve - something to the effect of "when the players hear why, I don't think they'll have a big problem with our decision". So it wasn't Saskin-like severity but it didn't sound trivial either.

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09-02-2009, 08:31 PM
  #218
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This refers to the letter I asked about and Wetcoaster mentions above.

Quote:
Kelly also addressed the anonymous letter sent, reportedly by someone close to the union, to certain reporters regarding his work and character.

The letter was delivered prior to a June meeting in Las Vegas, where a committee was formed to review Kelly's leadership.

"I wasn't surprised by it," said Kelly, a Boston lawyer. "Actually, I saw it a few weeks ago, [not] at the time that it was sent to various press people. When you read something that's been sent to a journalist which is not factual, it hurts, but look, it comes with the territory.

"I was a prosecutor for many, many years and people used to take shots at me all the time, usually [by] bad guys in an effort to discredit me or scare me off, so I've developed some broad shoulders over time."
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/stor...y-ousting.html

I googled nhlpa "anonymous letter" kelly las vegas, and the only hits on topic lead to that CBC link and to this thread.

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09-02-2009, 08:37 PM
  #219
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Originally Posted by nye View Post
This refers to the letter I asked about and Wetcoaster mentions above.



http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/stor...y-ousting.html

I googled nhlpa "anonymous letter" kelly las vegas, and the only hits on topic lead to that CBC link and to this thread.
I heard that on Leafs Lunch.

One of the folks interviewed, (I think it was Hargrove) said that Kelly took the letter into the meetings with the reps to address it.

No doubt the letter existed.

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09-02-2009, 08:38 PM
  #220
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Originally Posted by cleduc View Post
Having said that, the tone of what I heard from the reps seemed like one of significant resolve - something to the effect of "when the players hear why, I don't think they'll have a big problem with our decision". So it wasn't Saskin-like severity but it didn't sound trivial either.
What are they going to say? The guy didn't do what out little group wanted so we manufactured this coup to oust him from office?

Either way, it's bad for Hockey. I guess the player want their salaries to be on par with Soccer or the Srena Football League. I know I won't be supporting them one bit in their upcoming negotiations after these shenanigans.

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09-02-2009, 08:43 PM
  #221
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I heard that on Leafs Lunch.

One of the folks interviewed, (I think it was Hargrove) said that Kelly took the letter into the meetings with the reps to address it.

No doubt the letter existed.

Yeah, there's also a link to a transcript of the LL interview on TSN.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=289726

Watters has read it. The CBC refers to journalists having it. Where is it, is what I am wondering?

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09-02-2009, 09:13 PM
  #222
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Originally Posted by Jeremy2020 View Post
What are they going to say? The guy didn't do what out little group wanted so we manufactured this coup to oust him from office?

Either way, it's bad for Hockey. I guess the player want their salaries to be on par with Soccer or the Srena Football League. I know I won't be supporting them one bit in their upcoming negotiations after these shenanigans.
I'm not convinced of that yet.

After the lockout, the NHLPA had a pretty hard look at itself. They sat down, reviewed what had gone on, organized efforts and rewrote their constitution putting in checks and balances. An Advisory committee got set up to provide the players with expertise and oversight along with the Ombudsman role to serve as a watchdog for them so that Eagleson/Saskin events couldn't repeat. They defined how they hoped to operate in the future such that they wouldn't repeat the problems of the past.

They did a professional search for Kelly by committee, short listed, interviewed a few times and picked their guy. I've never met a manager or group who has been able to perfect the art of hiring people.

When they encountered problems, they had the Ombudsman look into it and report. When problems persisted, they formed a committee and interviewed all the NHLPA staff to get to the bottom of it.

To me, they have made a pretty darn good and thoughtful effort to address the bad situation of 2005. In light of the above, I think they've taken a lot more right steps than wrong in the past few years to take real ownership of their union and try to do the right things. If one were to take a look at what they've done in the last four years and compare it to what they did 10 years ago, they're light years ahead of where they were as a group.

Now it's possible that they overshot on the checks and balances. Maybe they got too many chiefs and not enough indians. Maybe they've made some mistakes. With so much change, they were bound to make some errors and they may have to adjust their constitution or organization. But I think they need to be a little patient and work out the kinks because most of what they've undertaken will eventually bear fruit.

OTH, who knows? Maybe these checks and balances worked just fine and they flushed out a mistake in Kelly before they suffered too badly for it.

When I look at all of those things they've tried to accomplish, I think it is to their general credit. So I'm going to cut them some slack and give them a chance to work out any outstanding issues.

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09-02-2009, 09:30 PM
  #223
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Bob Lindquist is much more than just an accountant. He is often referred to as the Godfather of Forensic Accounting.
http://web4.uwindsor.ca/units/alumni...c!OpenDocument

Sometimes people will say that so and so wrote to the book on such and such an area - in Bob Lundquist's case that was quite literally true.


http://www.acfi.ca/NewsCurrLAABobLindquist.htm

Here is the press release when he joined the NHLPA:

http://www.nhlpa.com/Content/Feature.asp?contentId=3777

If he is leaving over this.
Wow - doesn't sound like someone who works cheap. Gotta wonder what he was going to uncover that wasn't already uncovered in Sheila Block's investigation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Eric Lindros resigned but there have been a number of reports that this was forced resignation and that he and Kelly had a very poor relationship. Given Lindros' history with his employers that is not difficult to believe.
Perhaps Kelly made the same mistake a lot of people (media in particular) are making - believing that the Ombudsman is an employee of the Executive Director and was supposed to play nice with him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy2020 View Post
Either way, it's bad for Hockey. I guess the player want their salaries to be on par with Soccer or the Srena Football League. I know I won't be supporting them one bit in their upcoming negotiations after these shenanigans.
As a fan, these shenanigans have no impact on me whatsoever. Unless you're a member of Paul Kelly's family, why take it so personally? Of course, if it leads to another work stoppage, that's another story - but then, my issue would be with the work stoppage, not with what they did to poor old Paul Kelly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cleduc View Post
I did a google news search for "Ron Pink". Only 16 stories came up. "Paul Kelly" turned up 862 stories and at a glance, the bulk seemed to relate to the NHLPA. Of the 16 stories with "Ron Pink", about four had some speculation that he might have been involved with no substantiation.
I did a google news search for "Paul Kelly hired NHLPA" to refresh myself on the things that were said when he was brought on back in 2007. I remembered at the time being nervous because it sounded like they were bringing in another hardass like Goodenow and IIRC, there were suggestions at the time that the PA was going to re-open the CBA at their first option (which I believe has come and gone). As a fan, it didn't bode to well for the future. It seems to me that is what the search commitee thought they were getting in Kelly, but aren't satisfied that it is what he has delivered. On top of that, they made the point of including the new Ombudsman position in their new constitution - a position that Kelly made clear he felt was unnecessary and "obsolete".

Here's what Player Rep Garnett Exelby had to say today:

- "The last time we gave up a lot" (referring to the last CBA negotiation)
- "I think it's a fair statement that ownership got what it wanted in the last agreement.
- "We need a strong leader"
- "We need to find someone who understands we are in charge, someone who understands decisions go through us."

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/hoc...14681-sun.html

In other words, if you're expecting this contract negotiation to be friendly and cordial, don't apply. If you want to have dinner with Bettman Friday, discuss the CBA while you take in the Rangers game Saturday and send it for ratification Sunday, don't apply. The NHLPA and the NHL need to be partners, but if you want to be pals with Gary and Bill, don't apply. And if you don't want to work with somebody looking over your shoulder, don't apply. WE don't work for YOU, YOU work for US.

I'm gonna enjoy these next two years and hope for the best, but I'm afraid things could get very bloody. Wouldn't even surprise me to see Goodenow brought back.

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09-03-2009, 03:21 AM
  #224
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Thought this was interesting, since I implicated that David Clarkson might have been one of the reps that got rolled. From reading this, it doesn't seem the case. Also has alot of quotes from Brendan Shanahan with actual content... figuring that Clarkson called Shanahan and this is what Shanahan had to say, I'm guessing Clarkson is one of the reps that voted no. Or he's a moron. Which is also possible.

This is one of the Shanahan quotes.

Quote:
"It followed the constitution, but I think the timing makes me nervous and the timing makes a little suspicious when we're only 10 days away from having access to all 700 players. Why did this have to be done in such a hurried fashion? We made that mistake a few years ago, hurrying it through with (Bob) Goodenow and (Ted) Saskin and I thought we learned from that mistake. In the end, it might be the right decision, but I still don't like the way it was done and I'm still waiting for some answers."
http://njmg.typepad.com/devilsblog/2...tive.html#more

It does beg the question of why someone like Clarkson is at these meetings on a team full of vets. Then again, maybe it makes perfect sense. lol.

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09-03-2009, 07:46 AM
  #225
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Snooping might have cost Kelly his job
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...rticle1273993/
Quote:
One of the prime reasons Paul Kelly was fired as NHLPA executive director is that he was allegedly caught reading a transcript from a confidential meeting between the union’s advisory board and 30-member player executive last June.
...
The players were asked not to reveal any details of Kelly’s removal until a severance package is worked out and each NHL player had a chance to discuss the developments with his player representative as to why – by a vote of 22-5 (three players did not vote) – the decision was made to oust Kelly.

Some details began to leak out yesterday, including charges that Kelly peeked at a confidential transcript from a private session at the NHLPA summer meetings in Las Vegas two months ago.


When an executive board member was contacted yesterday to confirm the private session was part of the reason for Kelly’s dismissal, the phone line went silent. He then said, “The players have agreed not to say anything.” The player (Kelly I think they mean -cleduc) was given a chance to refute the story and did not deny the allegations.
...
The main purpose of the Las Vegas meeting was to discuss Kelly’s leadership. There were concerns and issues that emerged at the executive board’s annual meetings in Chicago a year ago, and resurfaced with the resignation of Eric Lindros as the union’s newly created ombudsman earlier this year.
...

Once Kelly was allowed back in the room and found out that the executive board approved a new contract for Penny, he told the players that they circumvented the NHLPA’s new constitution.

So with Kelly in attendance, the executive board debated the pros and cons of the Penny extension, voted again and unanimously approved the five-year pact.

In the three days since the showdown in Chicago, in which Penny was appointed as the interim executive director, no player has stepped up to state his displeasure with the removal of Kelly and possible cost of such a move.
I think they mean no player stepped up to state his displeasure who was at the meeting though 5 of 27 did vote to continue to with Kelly.

So according to the above, they were having this problem:
"The main purpose of the Las Vegas meeting was to discuss Kelly’s leadership. There were concerns and issues that emerged at the executive board’s annual meetings in Chicago a year ago, and resurfaced with the resignation of Eric Lindros as the union’s newly created ombudsman earlier this year."
... going back to Chicago, through Lindros and then the Las Vegas meeting that was dedicated to reviewing Kelly.

Not satisfied, they dispatch 4 reps and a HR consultant to check it out and speak with all the staff at the NHLPA. And they get Hargrove's report.

Let's tally the Kelly complaints concerns:
1. Complaints/concerns in Chicago meeting a year ago
2. Complaints/concerns by Ombudsman Lindros in Feburary who resigns
3. Complaints/concerns in meeting dedicated to deal with them in Las Vegas last June
4. Complaints/concerns by Ombudsman Hargrove recently
5. Four player reps & HR Consultant check them out with all the NHLPA staff and it looks like what they found wasn't all good.

In doing so, with his job already in question, the players find out Kelly was 'snooping' (or whatever you want to call it) and Kelly doesn't deny it. In light of what Saksin did, I can understand why the players might be a little hyper sensitive on that one.

Well, if that's all true, the conspiracy theory has to take a back seat as there were problems going back a year ago and coming from all kinds of directions. As well, for those concerned about employment law, Kelly already had notice on at least some some of these problems at the latest by February with the three page Lindros letter and failed to get the issues tamped down. It appears, if the above is true, that the players may have had reasonable cause with the 'snooping' being the straw that broke the sensitive camel's back.

Like the conspiracy theory, I take the above with a grain of salt because there are not a lot of quotes/hard evidence in that article. I also can't conclude what the players did was absolutely right or wrong under the circumstances with the sketchy, unverified details. But there's little doubt that the distinct possibility exists that the players had good cause to do what they did and that it was not as a result of a conspiracy/power play.


Last edited by Fugu: 09-03-2009 at 11:57 AM. Reason: copyright-- pared down
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