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Player Safety leader will be named before season

by Arpon Basu

BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec -- The NHL is close to hiring a new head of the Department of Player Safety, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.

The NHL has been without a permanent lead disciplinarian since Brendan Shanahan left the League on April 11 to become president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stephane Quintal, who worked under Shanahan since November 2011, took over as head of player safety on an interim basis through the end of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We're getting to the short strokes of that process," Commissioner Bettman said, speaking at a media event outside Montreal. "We've interviewed a lot of candidates, including somebody that's been doing it on an interim basis, and we will be making a decision shortly. We wanted to finish the process; [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and I each managed to take a little time off in August, but certainly well in advance of the start of the season we'll have an announcement."

The first game of the 2014-15 NHL season is Oct. 8; the preseason schedule begins Sept. 21.

Commissioner Bettman also addressed the progress in talks with the National Hockey League Players' Association regarding international play, more specifically reviving the World Cup of Hockey, which was last played in 2004.

"The Players' Association is our partner, and to the extent we haven't had any announcement yet is simply because we haven't been able to button down everything to our mutual satisfaction," Commissioner Bettman said. "Our hope is that at the appropriate time, we'll be able to talk about the opportunities internationally that we think events like the World Cup will have.

"We're constantly talking about this and other issues with the Players' Association. But as I said, we want to be in a position where we're doing this together."

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