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Penny to head NHLPA -- for now

Monday, 08.31.2009 / 4:43 PM / News

Hours after the removal of Paul Kelly, the NHLPA Exec Committee members voted unanimously on Monday to name General Counsel Ian Penny as Interim Executive Director.

Penny has worked as a staff counsel for the players' union for nine years and was named General Counsel in 2007. It is believed the NHLPA will put together a search committee to find a permanent replacement for Kelly.

"After a full review of the overall health of the office and the Association, it became clear Paul Kelly was not the right individual for the Executive Director's role going forward," the union's executive board said in a statement. "The Executive Board had to make the decision we made today in the best interest of our membership. The decision made was in part the result of the checks and balances we now have in our Constitution. While it is unfortunate things didn't work out with Paul Kelly, we made an informed decision. It is the right decision and we know what we did what was best for our association."

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued the following statement regarding the NHLPA Exec Committee's decision to name Penny the Interim Executive Director.
"We do not believe it is appropriate for the League to comment extensively on the news coming out of the players' Executive Board meeting in Chicago over the last 24 hours.  It is an internal Union matter, and it is not our role or place to be passing judgment, especially when we don't know all the facts.

"We obviously have a longstanding relationship with Ian Penny and we are committed to working with him, both during this interim period and beyond, for the betterment of the game for the benefit of all of the game's stakeholders  -- including most importantly, our fans.

"As for Paul Kelly, we wish him the very best in whatever challenge he next chooses to pursue.  He is a very talented professional who was totally committed to representing the players' interests for the purpose of, and in the context of, growing and promoting a sport that he loved."
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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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