NHL takes NHLPA to court

Published On December 15, 2012 | By Jill Saftel

As the lockout saga continues without progress, the NHL made a big move Friday night in filing a class-action complaint in New York federal court requesting the confirmation of the legality of the lockout.

According to USA Today, the NHL explained in a release that the complaint was made in response to players being asked to vote on whether the union should move to a “disclaimer of interest” status. To put it into simpler terms, that’s one of two ways the union can be disbanded. The other is a formal vote to disband, but the disclaimer of interest basically says the union is no longer representing the players.

The NHL’s complaint is a preemptive strike against the NHLPA, but it wasn’t a surprise.

“This is exactly what the NBA did last year,” said associate professor Gabriel Feldman, director of Tulane’s Sports Law program. “This strategy is all being driven by the same law firm that has represented leagues for decades in these matters and that’s Proskauer-Rose. So this is still according to script.”

Along with the filing of its complaint, the NHL also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. The NHL is claiming “that by threatening to “disclaim interest,” the NHLPA has engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act, according to the release.

Feldman said if the sides can’t settle and we see things played out in court, there will be no hockey season.

The last formal talks between the NHL and NHLPA took place eight days ago, with the owners putting their last “take it or leave it” offer on the table.

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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.