Back in June, player agents Anton Thun, Ritch Winter and Kurt Overhardt had spoken out amid news that NHL player agents have expressed unhappiness with the NHL Players’ Association’s leadership. NHL insider Bob McKenzie has now revealed that they are seeking an independent review of how the National Hockey League Players’ Association conducts its business affairs.
According to Thun, who explained his position back in June on Sportsnet, many players are unhappy with the union, and a group of 15 to 20 players have stepped forward to demand action.
“There’s a group of players who have reached out to us,” he said on June 29. “They’ve asked questions of the NHLPA and they are the ones who’ve not gotten satisfactory answers. And they’ve reached out to us to try to find solutions. So we tried that. We’ve spoken to the NHLPA, and really have gotten very little response, so the players have basically said we think we need a little bit better advocacy.”
On Thursday night, McKenzie shared the latest developments regarding a group of players and agents during a segment of Insider Trading on TSN.
"These players are in possession of a five-minute video that was produced by their agents basically on the basis of the complaints they received from their clients. The video basically questions some of the business practices and advocates for this independent review of the NHLPA. The only way an independent review will happen if those players and these agents were to convince the 31 player representatives and the executive committee of the NHLPA to do that. I would expect that video to get in the hands of all the players reps and the executive committee and see if they can convince that voting body to seek the independent review of the PA's business affairs."
Back in March, it was reported that Overhardt wrote a letter marked “confidential” to Donald Fehr asking for information about HRR claims and for details about union staff compensation on behalf of his clients Ryan Kesler and Brandon Dubinsky. Fehr responded to the Overhardt letter, writing that the HRR information was available for players to review, but because of a confidentiality agreement between the NHLPA and NHL, it would not be provided in written or electronic form.
On April 27, Fehr emailed Kesler and Dubinsky directly, saying that the NHLPA would organize and pay for hotels and transportation for the two players to Toronto to review the information they requested. A union source said that neither Kesler nor Dubinsky responded to Fehr’s email.
Other agents, like Allan Walsh, have been surprised by the actions taken in this saga. Walsh has said the move by the three agents is an attempt to undermine the NHLPA.