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Gartner resigns in light of current union turmoil

TORONTO -- Hall of Famer Mike Gartner resigned from the NHL
Players' Association on Monday night, about a week after two top
union officials were placed on leave because of allegations they
ordered the monitoring of NHLPA player e-mail.

Gartner began a conference call with the players' executive
board with his announcement that he was leaving as the NHLPA's
director of hockey affairs. He had been with the union for eight
years.

"This decision was made with careful thought and consideration
and has been contemplated over an extended period of time,"
Gartner said in a statement. "I leave with great reservation due
to my long-standing involvement with the Players' Association and
in light of the current circumstances affecting the union. I am
sincerely troubled by the recent revelations and am hopeful that
the Association can move forward and be restored to a level of
respect worthy of its members."

NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin and senior director Ken Kim
were placed on paid leave March 11.

The player reps voted to retain outside counsel to "address the
employment issues surrounding Mr. Saskin and Mr. Kim," the union
said in a statement.

Toronto attorney Chris Paliare will counsel the executive board
on whether to pay off whatever severance package Saskin and Kim are
entitled to or whether there are grounds to fire them.

An internal review in the hiring of Saskin is also ongoing.

The turmoil within the union ranks follows a contentious labor
agreement that saw the union yield to a salary cap.

Gartner joined the NHLPA in 1999 as its director of business
relations following a 19-year playing career. Gartner helped
improve the pensions for current and former players. Gartner was
named director of hockey affairs in 2006.