As expected the NHLPA voted with overwhelming support to give the unions executive board permission to dissolve the union should they see that as necessary during CBA lockout negotiations.
The five-day electric vote ended on Friday and included more than 700 members of the NHLPA an impressive show of support from such a large group of hockey players with disparate interests, desires and backgrounds. The NHL filed a class action complaint in federal court and an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Board Advisory at the end of last week stemming from the news that the NHLPA would vote on a disclaimer of interest.
Earlier this week a number of NHL players confirmed with CSNNE.com that they were voting in support of allowing the NHLPA Executive Board to file a disclaimer of interest that would allow individual players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league. The players union has also put a Jan. 2 deadline to decide whether or not they will blow up the union, and potentially change the course of negotiations that have been on the wrong foot from the very beginning.
Its important to note that negotiations can continue throughout this period of deliberation among the union.
The disclaimer of interest is essentially a faster, easier way for the NHLPA to decertify, and its expected that the players would form a less formal trade association while continuing negotiations with the NHL. While all of these actions would seem to indicate that a battle in the court system is brewing, both the NHL and NHLPA are both motivated to simply get a deal done before they let control slip out of their hands into the federal court system.
There was no contact between the NHL and NHLPA on Friday, but it would be surprising if theres no last-ditch effort before or after Christmas to find middle ground on a new CBA. The NHL has tacitly indicated Jan. 15 could be a drop-dead date for the season if the two sides dont have a deal executed, but its also important to remember the NHL started a 48-game schedule on Jan. 22 during the strike-shortened 1994-95 hockey season.