The next scrap between rival factions in the National Hockey League Players Association leadership revolt is looming this month in Chicago.
Player agents who had been going to the Windy City for an information session with embattled executive director Ted Saskin on Dec. 12, have now been invited by dissidents to meet their point man, labour lawyer Bob Lanza, before the Saskin session begins. Lanza is handling a complaint on behalf of 27 players to the National Labour Relations Board in the U.S., though their group is thought to be twice as large .
TSN reports the dissidents, headed by former player Trent Klatt, have invited every agent to meet Lanza on Dec. 11 and again on the morning of the 12th, prior to the 12:30 p.m. session with Saskin.
"Mr. Lanza will be available to educate you on what Mr. Saskin has done and what he continues to do in depriving the NHLPA members their fundamental rights," Klatt's message read.
Klatt's group includes Maple Leafs Eric Lindros and Ed Belfour, as well as Dominik Hasek, Glen Murray, Chris Chelios and Brian Leetch. They told the NLRB in their charge that they believe there were improprieties in the way Saskin was voted in last summer to replace Bob Goodenow.
"Everyone knows where we stand on the issue, we don't agree with what went on," said Leafs' player rep Bryan McCabe yesterday. "You have to take a look and maybe some guys will open up their eyes."
But while the Leafs are one of the teams that have not allowed Saskin to address them as part of his club-by-club fence-mending tour, there is still some support for him in the Toronto room.
A second vote of all player reps and the executive board, to validate the summer result, already has confirmed Saskin's election, but Klatt has not recognized the result.