Donald Fehr tells players he’s staying on as union president

Ron MacLean, Nick Kypreos, Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston get you caught up with all of the latest news surrounding the NHL on this week's rendition of Saturday Headlines.

National Hockey League Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr will remain on as the head of the union for at least one more collective bargaining agreement negotiation, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

“Donald Fehr has told the players he is staying in through at least one more CBA negotiation, no matter when it is,” Friedman said during Headlines on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast Saturday evening.

Though the current CBA isn’t set to expire until after the 2021-22 season, both the NHL and NHLPA have the power to opt out of the current deal come September 2019. As such, Friedman believes that, while Fehr did tell the players he intends to stay on as their lead representative through these next round of talks, he likely won’t remain in his current role for much longer after they conclude.

“He is getting closer to being 71 next summer, so I think it’s an admission that maybe this is the last one he leads, but he’s staying through this one,” said Friedman.

Although this may be his last negotiation, there’s no guarantee he’ll make an announcement next year that the players intend to opt out because of some pressure from the NHL itself in regards to the World Cup of Hockey.

“There have been meetings, it’s been reported, one of the things that’s coming up quickly is the international calendar,” Friedman said. “We all know how much the Olympics mean to players. The league has said, understandably, they don’t want a World Cup in 2020 if there’s a chance for a strike or a lockout right after.”

This is an issue that, Friedman reports, will need to be resolved quickly if the players want to play in the World Cup in 2020 and, thus, forgo opting out of the CBA in 2019.

“The league has told the players they need to understand by the all-star break, around there, if they can do a World Cup in 2020. So I think we’ll have a good idea by January if there’s reason for optimism that both sides could agree not to re-open the CBA to have a World Cup in 2020.”

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