National Hockey League Players’ Association, Toronto
Collective Bargaining Agreement
The Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, Paul Kelly retained Lindquist as Financial Advisor in regard to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that had been negotiated between the players and the thirty team owners of the National Hockey League. The key issue was to ensure that all “Hockey Related Revenue” was being recorded properly by each of the teams, since the player’s compensation is based upon 57% of the total of such revenues.
Lindquist worked closely with Executive Director Kelly over a period of nearly two years, including participating is several meetings with Commissioner Gary Bettman and other NHL executives. The leadership team was laying the foundation for productive CBA negotiations with the League and plans for future revenue expansion within the sport. Mr. Kelly was attempting to work constructively with League officials rather than to battle them at every turn as in the past, which lead to the lockout and loss of the 2004-05 NHL season. Unfortunately for the players of the NHL and the sport as a whole, due to an unworkable corporate structure that was put in place immediately prior to Mr. Kelly’s arrival as Executive Director, a group of non-player outside advisors and disloyal employee holdovers from the previous administration were able to force out Mr. Kelly in a classic “palace coup” during an off-season meeting (in late August) at 3:00 am.
This unfortunate action was taken without the approval or even the knowledge of 95% of the membership of the NHLPA, most of whom were stunned and disappointed upon learning the news. Within a matter of weeks of this occurrence, the former General Counsel and each of the outside advisors involved in early morning action left their roles with the Association rather than submit to interviews and discovery as part of an independent outside investigation.
Lindquist resigned as a financial consultant to the NHLPA the morning after Mr. Kelly’s termination – which the legendary hockey writer Jim Kelley termed “unconscionable” in a July 2010 article for Sports Illustrated entitled “Fehr emerging out of the NHLPA’s bloody palace intrigue”.