NHLPA Interim Director Steps Down, NHLPA Fights Back at Rumor Mill

NHLPA interim director Ian Penny stepped down on Friday, and there is a report spreading like wildfire that the NHLPA has suspended operations. Sources told NESN.com on Friday afternoon that the report is "completely false."

The NHLPA also released a statement on the matter:

"Interim executive director Ian Penny informed the NHLPA staff and the NHLPA executive board earlier today that he has been constructively dismissed as interim executive director of the NHLPA and can no longer work in the present circumstances. Effective today, Ian Penny is no longer employed by the NHLPA.
"There have been inaccurate media reports circulating today that the NHLPA has suspended operations. 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. The NHLPA will make no further comment today on this internal matter."

HockeyCentral @ Noon’s Nick Kypreos reported earlier Friday that the NHLPA “is not a functioning organization right now” and that "interim executive director Ian Penny and ombudsman Buzz Hargrove have also had their responsibilities suspended.”

According to sources, those reports are false.

"The NHLPA is still up and running," one source told NESN.com this afternoon. Also, Penny and Hargrove “resigned and weren’t suspended,” according to another source.

Kypreos also reported that "the NHLPA prevented Penny and Hargrove from contacting player representatives."

Kypreos is right on that, but everything else is inaccurate, according to our sources. According to these sources, Penny and Hargrove haven't been privy to recent transgressions within the NHLPA, but that is the “players' right and choice.”

A four-player review committee of Mark Recchi, Nicklas Lidstrom, Rob Blake and Chris Chelios was recently formed by the players and NHLPA to investigate what’s going on at the NHLPA. For the last week, the committee has chosen to not include Penny and Hargrove because they are part of an ongoing investigation. The committee is currently reviewing the Paul Kelly firing, and this Kypreos report appears to be spin control by Penny and Hargrove in advance of what they must anticipate will be news that will cast them in a negative light.

The bottom line is that the NHLPA has no official executive director, but it is still functioning and will be run by the executive board.

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