The NHLPA has rejected the NHL’s plan for realignment in 2012-13.
The NHL was planning to go from six divisions to four divisions next season, but did not get the approval from the National Hockey League Players’ Association. Instead everything will be status quo next year.
The union’s disapproval should not come as a complete surprise. Why? Well, many players in the Eastern Time Zone would be forced to travel significantly more–specifically once a year to every single western team. According to NHLPA head Donald Fehr, the players’ concerns about travel had not been significantly addressed.
This is the first major tension between the NHLPA and the NHL since the lockout in 2005. A primary reason is that the NHLPA is significantly more organized with Fehr’s leadership in the post Bob Goodenow era. Fehr isn’t afraid to speak up for the union and take on Gary Bettman on matters he doesn’t feel are in the union’s best interests.
Chalk a point up for Fehr. Something tells me it won’t be the last time he gets a victory against Bettman.