The election by the NHL players of Don Fehr to be their new executive
director may throw a chill into some fans who anticipate another
damaging work stoppage in hockey — especially those Montrealers who
recall the Expos losing a shot at post-season play when baseball’s
players, led by Fehr, went on strike in 1994. But Fehr had some words for them in his
conference call on Saturday.
“You have an obligation to negotiate in good faith with the owners
and we will do that and they have an obligation to negotiate in good
faith with the players and I trust and hope they will do that.
“We treat a work stoppage, a strike, as a last resort and it’s
something you consider only when you believe that all alternatives have
failed. If you would ask me if I anticipate a stoppage, I would say no
and I certainly hope we won’t have one but I’m not going to predict what
happens in negotiations.
“If there can be a way to find a shared
common goal of a vision for the
future and a desire to try and figure out what that should be and what
kind of agreements should be reached to make that more rather than less
likely, that ought to be what we are trying to do.
forward to what the following months and years may bring,
especially the period leading up to and the negotiation of the new CBA.
It’s an important time for the players, I think it’s an important time
for the industry and I think viewed with a proper perspective it can be a
very positive time for all involved.”