Thursday, September 3, 2009
Healy sends searing letter to board
By Scott Burnside
The fallout over the firing of Paul Kelly as NHLPA executive director continued Thursday with the abrupt resignation of director of player affairs Glenn Healy.
In a scathing letter sent to the NHLPA's 30 player representatives -- the same group that voted 22-5 in the early morning hours Monday to terminate Kelly -- Healy said he could no longer in good conscience remain with the union for which he has worked for 16 years.
Healy, a former NHL goaltender and broadcast analyst who joined the NHLPA under Kelly 14 months ago, was especially critical of an internal office review that he said attacked his credibility.
The woman who conducted the review, Anne Marie Turnbull, accused Healy of misleading players regarding the role of former superstars Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in previous union matters, Healy said.
"I would never and have not misled or told any untruths to any player. I can not [sic] sit back and continue to perform my duties when my Players' Association co-workers unjustifiably impugn my credibility in front of the players I represent and fire shots against Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, two of the greatest players in the game, who have benefited every player in this Players' Association," Healy wrote in a letter to the members of the NHLPA executive board, which was obtained by ESPN.com.
NHLPA interim executive director Ian Penny said in a statement that since Healy was hired by Kelly, Healy's decision to step down made sense.
"There is no merit to Glenn's claim that I was critical of the contributions that Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux made to the NHLPA," Penny said in the statement. "I have the utmost respect for what both players contributed as union members and as two of the sport's greatest stars. It is unfortunate and disappointing that Glenn took my comments out of context. Based on the timing it appears that this was part of a strategy to deflect attention from today's media reports concerning Paul Kelly's conduct."
Healy's resignation is the latest chapter in the recent NHLPA turmoil, following the departures, voluntary or otherwise, of Kelly; assistant director of player affairs Pat Flatley; cap specialist Bob Lundquist; and marketing/sponsorship director Kevin Lovitt.
Scott Burnside is an NHL writer for ESPN.com.