Friday, March 09, 2007

All that’s missing is a secret police and a mystery island for the dissidents

The latest developments in the NHLPA leadership controversy have taken the backbiting and hostility towards Ted Saskin to new levels.

The embattled leader of the hockey union has never been fully accepted by his flock and lately the dissidents seem to be gaining the upper hand in their bid to declare his election null and void and seek a new vote.

What started out as a small grass fire off in the distance, is becoming more and more a roaring forest fire threatening to unravel the union and shake its very existence.

Of late those against the Saskin election have taken to comparing his reign with that of Alan Eagleson a name that doesn’t get mentioned much in hockey circles anymore lest someone get violent and rehash the old days of union management.

The most recent revelation of the affairs of the union state is beyond baffling and is by far the most serious of the long string of problems that have haunted the Saskin stewardship thus far. The Toronto Star reported a few days ago that the Toronto Police department was investigating claims that NHLPA executives had read and blocked e mail access to dissident members who had been outspoken against the current leadership group.

It’s that report that has put Saskin on the defensive, a situation that has him pointing the finger right back at Bob Goodenow his predecessor, replaced during a nasty little internal war at the NHLPA.

Goodenow speaking through his lawyer, fired right back that Saskin is wrong about his charges and that no such thing took place during his watch.

This latest bit of theatrics comes up just as the union’s thirty team reps prepare for a weekend conference call, a session in which Saskin’s status as director may be up for discussion and vote.

With all the backroom machinations and public posturing, the one question that the union reps need to ask themselves on Sunday is a simple one. Is the union concentrating its attention on the players and their needs or on far too many distractions?

Judging by the state of affairs of late, distraction seems to the way things are heading, a situation that won’t be of much use to the rank and file!

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