TORONTO - Eric Lindros sat back Wednesday and listened attentively during Paul Kelly's introductory news conference as new executive director of the NHL Players' Association.
It was the culminating moment in a long process for Lindros. The Big E put in countless hours over the last few months in helping the players' union turn the page and hire its new leader. He was a member of the five-player search committee for the executive director and also a key cog on the constitutional review committee that helped reshape the union from top to bottom.
"It's been exciting, I've learned a lot, I've met a lot of interesting people and I think today caps it off with finding the best person for leading our players," Lindros told reporters after Kelly's news conference.
But now what? The 34-year-old centre will in all likelihood announce his retirement at some point. The new NHLPA constitution will have a newly created ombudsman position and Lindros is the favourite to get that job although it's ultimately up to the 30 player reps that make up the executive board and, of course, Kelly.
"I really appreciate Eric's efforts," Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Cammalleri, a member of the search committee, told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "He's worked extremely hard for all the right reasons for quite some time now. I think his efforts hopefully won't go unnoticed.
"He should definitely be considered as someone that could have some involvement. In what capacity and what extent obviously remains to be seen, but he's definitely an asset to our group."
Lindros said Wednesday he would welcome a chance to work for the union in whatever role.
"I would look forward to something along those lines. This has been really interesting. I've learned a lot about the other side of things."
Lindros, the first overall pick in the 1991 NHL entry draft, had 372 goals and 493 assists in 760 regular-season NHL games. He won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP with Philadelphia in 1994-95.