Executive board recommends lawyer Kelly for director

TORONTO -- The NHL Players' Association officially nominated
former assistant U.S. attorney Paul Kelly on Monday for its
executive director position.

The unanimous nomination was made during a conference call
Monday night with the union's 30 player representatives, who will
conduct a secret ballot vote during the next week. A majority vote
is required for Kelly to be elected.

The five-player search committee, consisting of
Eric Lindros,
Chris Chelios, Mike Cammalleri, Shawn Horcoff and Robyn Regehr, got
help from Chicago search firm Reilly Partners and interviewed a
long list of candidates before narrowing it to three. NFL Players
Association lawyer Richard Berthelsen, and Bill Gregson, president
and CEO of sports store chain Forzani Group, were the other
finalists with Kelly.

Kelly is a partner at Kelly, Libby & Hoopes, a Boston law firm
that specializes in internal investigations and complex civil and
administrative litigation. He previously served as an assistant
U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and was involved
in the investigation of former NHLPA leader Alan Eagleson.

Kelly was also Marty McSorley's lawyer when the former NHL
defenseman was charged for his assault on former Vancouver Canucks
tough guy Donald Brashear.

"We've got a way to see what happens, but he's been
recommended," Chelios said Monday night in Anaheim after Detroit's
6-3 loss. "Obviously the word's out, so it just remains to be seen
what the board thinks and what the players think, and we'll go from

Ted Saskin was fired as executive director union last May amid
allegations he ordered the spying of NHLPA player e-mail in the
midst of a player uprising that challenged how he took over for Bob
Goodenow after the NHL lockout in 2005.

"A lot of it had to do with where we are now," Chelios said.
"We'll discuss it at length with the players and inform them about
why we came to this decision. And we all believe we made the right

"He obviously knows the law, and he's been in pressure
situations, legal situations, and we're stuck with the CBA for the
next two years at least -- maybe five -- and I think we have to learn
the CBA first, and then make sure that everybody's held accountable
for that. And if anybody tries to cheat now or do anything wrong,
we've got the right guy now."