Buzz: The NHLPA’s Next Step Is To File a Disclaimer of Interest

Friedman wrote today “Barring a breakthrough in mediation, it’s expected the NHLPA will begin moving in that direction very shortly. It can take effect immediately. It’s what the NBA did days before reaching a settlement last November.”

On the NBA disclaiming interest last year, Larry Coon wrote at ESPN.com that the NBAPA removed itself as the bargaining unit for the players and converted itself into a trade association.

Derek Fisher, the NBAPA president at the time said, “After two years of making an effort, we concluded that the process has not worked. We cannot get a fair deal.”

Coon adds “In utilizing a disclaimer of interest rather than an involuntary decertification, the players have chosen a timelier but riskier approach. The disclaimer will likely be challenged by the league as a “sham,” as the NFL did when faced with the disclaimer issued by the players’ association; the league argued that the dissolution was merely a negotiating tactic, and that the union was still representing the players’ interests.”

He adds that the big reason to do this is to gain leverage and flip the script, “But the real point of dissolving the union is to generate leverage. The players don’t really want to go all the way to trial — they want to settle. If the players win a major victory early in the case and the owners are forced to accept the prospect of a catastrophic result in court, then the players have gained real leverage.”