NHL players have given union executives the green light to dissolve the NHL Players' Association, according to reports. There is no immediate word on whether they will.
During a five-day period that ended this afternoon, players reportedly voted overwhelmingly to allow the executive board to file a disclaimer of interest. That means the NHLPA would walk away from its role as the representative of the players, therefore leaving the NHL without a bargaining partner and open to antitrust lawsuits.
Union executives have until Jan. 2 to file the disclaimer.
In a pre-emptive strike to possible union dissolution, the league filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board last Friday and also filed a class action lawsuit to have the lockout declared legal.
The league has repeatedly expressed confidence that a court will find in its favor regarding the disclaimer of interest. NFL players lost a similar motion last year. NBA players also filed to dissolve their union last year, and they reached a collective bargaining agreement with the league 12 days later.
The NHL has canceled all games through Jan. 14, leaving the sides with about three weeks to secure a CBA or face cancellation of the entire season. No negotiations are scheduled.