Turmoil again within NHLPA? Paul Kelly's job could be on the line

August, 27, 2009

CALGARY, Alberta -- We've been hearing rumblings that the NHL Players' Association is once again facing turmoil at the top, but now the cat's out of the bag after Thursday's report by TSN of Canada's Darren Dreger.

Paul Kelly's job as executive director could be on the line when the players' executive board (30 player reps) meets Sunday and Monday in Chicago, a union source confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday. That's when interim NHLPA ombudsman Buzz Hargrove will deliver a report looking at the union's day-to-day operations under Kelly, a report that some believe could be damning. It's not clear what, exactly, the report calls into question.

ESPN.com asked executive board member Robyn Regehr of the Calgary Flames about the report Thursday and he said he didn't know any of the details. All he knew was he was headed to Chicago for the meeting (the executive board meeting was already scheduled).

Fellow executive board member Chris Chelios, reached via text message, said he had "no idea" when asked about the TSN report.

Just how the executive board reacts to the Hargrove report remains to be seen.

"Honestly, I have no idea what's going to happen," an NHLPA source told ESPN.com.

Kelly, who replaced the fired Ted Saskin as NHLPA head in 2007, was not available for comment Thursday. He took over a divided membership after the fallout of the 2004-05 lockout and has been generally perceived as someone who has been steering the union in the right direction.

Hargrove, a longtime Ontario union activist, replaced Eric Lindros as ombudsman last season after the former star player left the union following a feud with Kelly.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer




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