TORONTO - The NHL Players' Association officially nominated former U.S. assistant district attorney Paul Kelly on Monday for its executive director position.
The nomination was made during a conference call Monday night with the union's 30 player reps, who will conduct a secret ballot vote amongst themselves over the next week. A majority vote is required for Kelly to be elected.
The five-player search committee, which consists of Eric Lindros, Chris Chelios, Mike Cammalleri, Shawn Horcoff and Robyn Regehr, got help from Chicago search firm Reilly Partners and interviewed a long list of candidates before getting down to three. NFL Players Association lawyer Richard Berthelsen, and Bill Gregson, president and CEO of sports store chain Forzani Group, were the other two along with Kelly.
"We've got a way to see what happens, but he's been recommended," Chelios said Monday night in Anaheim after Detroit's 6-3 loss. "Obviously the word's out, so it just remains to be seen what the board thinks and what the players think, and we'll go from there."
Kelly is a partner at Kelly, Libby & Hoopes, a Boston law firm that specializes in internal investigations and complex civil and administrative litigation. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and was involved in the investigation of former NHLPA leader Alan Eagleson.
Kelly was also Marty McSorley's lawyer when the former NHL defenceman was charged for his assault on former Vancouver Canucks tough guy Donald Brashear.
Ted Saskin was fired as executive director union last May amid allegations he ordered the spying of NHLPA player emails in the midst of a player uprising against his leadership.
"A lot of it had to do with where we are now," Chelios said. "We'll discuss it at length with the players and inform them about why we came to this decision. And we all believe we made the right decision.
"He obviously knows the law, and he's been in pressure situations, legal situations, and we're stuck with the CBA for the next two years at least - maybe five - and I think we have to learn the CBA first, and then make sure that everybody's held accountable for that. And if anybody tries to cheat now or do anything wrong, we've got the right guy now."
-with files from The Associated Press.