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Sports

December 21, 2012

NHL players union is ready to decertify

Locked out hockey players working out in small ice rinks across North America do so wearing black or white jerseys with their union’s letters — NHLPA — printed across the chest.

The NHL Players’ Association could be closer to breaking up and being decertified on Friday morning.

Following the lead of the players’ associations from the NFL and NBA, the NHLPA’s 700-plus members are expected to overwhelmingly vote to authorize its executive board to “file a disclaimer of interest” and decertify the union.

Decertifying would allow individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the league in an attempt to end a lockout about to enter its fifth month. Players represented by the union cannot file suit against the league, hence the decertification.

It should be noted that even if the measure passes — as expected — the NHLPA won’t necessarily be broken up. But it will be a much easier process if that becomes the course of action.

“Right now, anything different to make the process move forward has to be looked at as good news,” Panthers goalie Jose Theodore said.

“We have tried pretty much everything so far. I think we have given up a lot and have always offered to talk. They are the ones who always want to take breaks and don’t want to negotiate. If you see things aren’t moving, you have nothing to lose. We’re not playing. Things aren’t going in the right direction.”

High-profile football players such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning filed a class-action suit against the NFL soon after they were locked out and the NFLPA decertified.

Both the NFL and NBA unions came back together not long after agreements were reached to officially negotiate with the league again.

The NHLPA is most definitely taking a risk because NHL owners haven’t shown they collectively care if there is a season or not.

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