SUN Hockey Pool

Divided, they stand

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Calling it "quite silly," Calgary Flames defenceman Andrew Ference said the latest Chris Chelios-led litigation against the NHLPA is beating a dead issue.

"The state of the union is 98 percent of the guys are looking at this small group and rolling their eyes," said Ference, who is part of the NHL's marketing committee. "It's, to say the least, a frustrating argument because they don't really have a whole lot to back up their statements -- as the court has backed up in their cases. It's a little painful after a while.

"We see the positive progress our union has made by ending the lockout and by taking steps forward with the league and we really are having a healthy league right now," he continued. "What can you do but roll your eyes at guys who are trying to damage that and come up with different lawsuits and what have you that are just getting thrown out of court."

Detroit's Chris Chelios and Dwayne Roloson of the Edmonton Oilers filed a lawsuit yesterday against NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin and former union president Trevor Linden.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to remove Saskin as executive director, alleging he has repeatedly violated the union's constitution along with Linden and other union members, "thus infringing upon the democratic rights of the players that the union represents," according to a release.

Also named in the suit were Bill Guerin (St. Louis) and former players Vincent Damphousse and Bob Boughner, who were former members of the NHLPA's executive committee.

"Unfortunately, this lawsuit has become necessary after months of stonewalling by the union," Chelios said in statement. "On behalf of more than 100 NHL players, we continue to seek full disclosure by the NHLPA of the events leading up to Bob Goodenow's departure and the hijacking of the union by a handful of other players."

Jarome Iginla, Calgary's players' association rep during the lockout, was caught off guard by the legal action.

"I thought it was in the past, to be honest. I thought the whole thing was over," said Iginla, who handed the PA rep reins to Robyn Regehr. "Guys were happy to move on and didn't feel there was any more things. At least with our team, anyway.

"We always thought if we reopened this stuff and revisited, it would be over -- that if we had another vote, it would be over. That's not the case and I guess I'm a little surprised."

The suit, filed in U.S. Federal Court in the Northern District of Illinois, comes three months after an NHLPA members meeting was seen as closing the chapter on the infighting.

Linden stepped down as president and the union elected an interim executive committee and formed a committee to revise the union's constitution.

Ference was aghast Linden's job was called into question to such a degree.

"Get real, these guys put so much time and effort into what they did ... Thanks to them, we're actually playing right now," he said. "Thank God that Trevor was in charge and we had some of those guys in those meetings because there was a voice of reason, and that's the main reason we didn't have two years of lockout and an absolutely abysmal sport right now."


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