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Former NHL union leader defends his conduct

Thursday, 09.03.2009 / 6:31 PM / News

Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) -Former NHL union leader Paul Kelly denies an accusation that he misused his office by reading a transcript of a private players' meeting.

"I cannot stand by and allow this false and misleading attack on my character and reputation," Kelly said in a statement released Thursday. "I spent almost 10 years as a federal prosecutor, prosecuting numerous cases pertaining to fraud and dishonesty, including one involving a former NHLPA executive director. My personal ethics and reputation are beyond reproach."

Kelly, a former U.S. prosecutor in Massachusetts who helped bring Alan Eagleson to justice, was dismissed Monday at a meeting of the NHL Players Association executive board in Chicago. No reason has been given for his firing other than it came after a review of his leadership.

Kelly defended his conduct on the same day Glenn Healy resigned as director of player affairs. The move comes after Pat Flatley, assistant director of player affairs and a Kelly supporter, resigned earlier this week along with Bob Lundquist, a union accounting consultant.

The Globe and Mail on Thursday said Kelly was caught reading documents detailing a confidential June meeting between the union's advisory board and its 30-member player executive.

The newspaper said a member of the player executive did not refute the charge when asked whether that was part of the reason Kelly was ousted, saying only that the players had agreed to say nothing about the dismissal.

The issue of privacy is a sensitive one for the union. Former executive director Ted Saskin was dismissed after allegations he monitored player e-mails.

"I take enormous pride and comfort knowing that I always acted in the best interests of the players, including taking affirmative actions required of me based on my obligations to the players and the NHLPA," Kelly said.

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