Penny steps down NHLPA interim boss

Interim executive director Ian Penny and the NHL Players’ Association parted ways on Friday.

“Interim executive director Ian Penny informed the NHLPA staff and the NHLPA executive board earlier today that it is his position he has been constructively dismissed … and can no longer work in the present circumstances,” the NHLPA said in a statement. “Effective today, Ian Penny is no longer employed by the NHLPA.”

There was no immediate word on a replacement.

Penny was hired after the union’s executive board fired Paul Kelly on Aug. 31. He had succeeded Ted Saskin, who was let go in May 2007 amid allegations of monitoring players’ email.

Saskin had taken over when Bob Goodenow stepped down in July 2005, shortly after a collective bargaining agreement was signed to end the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season.

The NHLPA has appeared to be split into factions since a salary cap was instituted as part of the CBA.

A four-player review committee recently formed to investigate the union’s organization. The committee members are Mark Recchi of the Bruins, Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, Rob Blake of the Sharks and Chris Chelios, currently playing for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL after a long NHL career.

There have been media reports that Penny clashed with Chelios in recent weeks.

Without an executive director in place, the NHLPA will be goverend by a 30-member executive board made up of player reps, according to

“There have been inaccurate media reports circulating today that the NHLPA has suspended operations” the union said in its release. “The NHLPA staff continues to work very hard on behalf of the players in all areas of the Association’s business and will continue to do so going forward.”