Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Zebra's get a reprieve

Those controversial human resources procedures during Andy Van Hellemond’s reign in the NHL head office have been examined by an arbitrator and found to be wanting. And with that investigation complete, Mark Faucette and Darren Gibbs have been offered their jobs back after being unjustly fired while working under Van Hellemond. Blaine Angus, a linesman who was also terminated during the Van Hellemond years is in the process of filing his own appeal.

The two returnees were evaluated and terminated due to poor performances, though they believe their involuntary departures were more likely linked to refusals to lend their supervisor money upon request.

With the re-instatement of Faucette another can of worms may soon come to the forefront of the NHL officials department. Faucette claims that there is a bias against American born referees, trotting out statistics outlining how American refs are more likely to be terminated than Canadian ones, even if their on ice performance is considered above the Canadians in questions.

Van Hellemond’s time in charge came to an end earlier this year when he resigned under a swirl of allegations about undue influence over his underlings, regularly hitting them up for travel or lunch money loans while on the road. During the heat of the debate over the ethics of asking your employees for a loan, it was announced that Van Hellemond was stepping down.

With a mess like that to clean up, it will take some time to get to the bottom of the issue. Fortunately for the league (if not for the fan) time is something they seem to have a lot of these days.

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